No Talks on Future of JCPOA Unless All Parties Resume Compliance

It is essential that all participants return to their commitments before any additional talks could take place, the UN envoy said
No Talks on Future of JCPOA Unless All Parties Resume Compliance
No Talks on Future of JCPOA Unless All Parties Resume Compliance

Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations said issues regarding the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal could only be discussed after all parties return to their original commitments. 
“They must first remove the sanctions and return to their commitments and we return to ours, then we can discuss the issues and implementation of JCPOA in the meetings of Joint Commission,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in an interview with ISNA. 
He used the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the world powers, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions. 
The agreement has been unraveling since the United States’ President Donald Trump pulled out in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran. The European parties also failed to fulfill their trade obligations under US pressure and to deliver on their promises to counter the American sanctions. 
Iran reciprocated by scaling back its commitments, but has declared that all moves would be reversed once all sanctions are removed. 
US President-elect Joe Biden has said he would bring Washington back to the deal if Iran resumed strict compliance, but has expressed the intention to start follow-on negotiations on new terms. 
Iranian officials have also hinted at issues to be discussed, including compensation for the losses inflicted on the country as a result of sanctions and the so-called snapback mechanism foreseen in the deal that was abused by the Trump administration. 
Takht-Ravanchi, however, said any such talks would be carried out once the JCPOA returns to its original shape. 
“This is not the time to talk about what we will discuss within the framework of the Joint Commission. When everyone returns to their commitments, we will discuss the future,” he said.



A Gloss Over Trump’s Policies 

Biden, however, is likely to use the sanctions, at least in part, as leverage to win his intended concessions out of Iran, which would amount to the continuation of Trump’s maximum pressure policy, according to the UN envoy. 
“If they … remove one part of the sanctions and keep another part and carry on the same approaches of Trump but in disguise, what difference would that make?” he said.   
What Iran expects in order to return to compliance is the complete and practical removal of sanctions, he added. 
“It is clear in JCPOA what sanctions must be removed; we want exactly those [terms] to be enforced. We don’t want a word less or more. It is only in that case that we will be satisfied,” he said. 
“We will neither allow the JCPOA to be renegotiated, nor let anything to be added to it.” 
Takht-Ravanchi also said Iran needs to make sure the removal of sanctions would practically remove the obstacles on the way of Iran’s international trade.
“Tehran is mistrustful of the US and suspects it would verbally lift the restrictions but continue to put pressure on other countries not to do business with Iran,” he said. 
“It is written in JCPOA that Iran’s trade with the world should be facilitated, this is what we want.” 
Trump has introduced new sanctions after the withdrawal, which are rather the same sanctions under a new label. This would allow Biden to keep them in place, arguing they were not included in the nuclear deal. 
Takht-Ravanchi described the move as cheating, highlighting the script of JCPOA that bans the introduction of new sanctions.
“If they want to play on this argument, it is obvious that they are not interested in addressing the issue,” he said. 

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