Above photo: Ali Kaveh/AP.
Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Tehran is in “no hurry” to return to its obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and is prepared to wait until the US lifts its illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has stated that a possible US decision to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, also known asthe Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), does not require any talks.
Speaking to the deal’s remaining signatories during a virtual meeting on Friday, Araqchi added that “Iran will suspend its steps [scaling back compliance with the deal’s terms] as soon as [US] sanctions are lifted and this is verified”.
The statement comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced earlier on Friday that the US would not take part in talks on the JCPOA, scheduled for next week in Vienna.
Zarif tweeted that Tehran plans to hold an in-person meeting with the remaining signatories to the JCPOA, namely, representatives of the EU, France, Germany, the UK, China, and Russia in Vienna on 6 April. He stressed that a meeting between Iran and the US was “unnecessary” at this point.
At virtual JCPOA JC meeting, Iran & EU/E3+2 agreed to resume in-person talks in Vienna next Tues.
Aim: Rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures.
No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2021
The top Iranian diplomat also emphasised that the goal of the Vienna negotiations is to “rapidly finalise sanction-lifting and nuclear measures for [a] choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing [its] remedial measures”.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, for his part, hailed the upcoming Vienna event, stressing in a statement that the sides “have no time to lose”.
“An agreement that is once again fully respected would be a plus for security for the entire region and the best basis for talks on other important issues of regional stability”, Maas pointed out.
The statement followed the JCPOA signatories agreeing to sit down for the Vienna nuclear talks in order to “clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups”.
Zarif Lifts the Lid on When Iran May ‘Immediately’ Start to Comply With JCPOA
In last month’s interview with the US news outlet Politico, Zarif reiterated Iran’s readiness to adhere to the JCPOA “as soon as the United States comes to compliance”.
The Islamic Republic started to scale down its JCPOA obligations, including those pertaining to uranium enrichment, in May 2019, exactly a year after then-US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord, also reinstating harsh economic sanctions against Tehran.
“Now we want to go back to compliance. The party that has started this process has to go back and Iran will immediately go back”, Zarif told Politico, in an apparent nod to the US.
When asked why the Islamic Republic has not sat down with the US yet to discuss the matter, he said that “there is nothing to talk about”, accusing Washington of seeking “to use pressure and coercion in order to extract new concessions from Iran” when it comes to the JCPOA.
In February, the White House expressed a willingness to revive US participation in the Iran deal, also demanding that Tehran return to its commitments under the 2015 agreement. Tehran, for its part, insists that it is Washington who should take the first step by scrapping all economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.