EghtesadOnline: Mediation efforts to resolve the dispute between Iran and the United States during the United Nations General Assembly last month did not succeed, because Washington showed no serious interest in clearing the way for an agreement, Iran's top diplomat said.
"We did not see any interest on the part of the American side to indicate that it is willing to take a serious step," Mohammad Javad Zarif told ICANA on Monday.
Friction between Tehran and Washington escalated after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal and initiated a maximum pressure campaign against Iran to push for a new round of talks on a wider range of topics.
Iran has refused to enter any negotiation with the US unless all pressure is lifted and started reducing its compliance by taking a series of reversible measures, Financial Tribune reported.
European parties, which have failed to shield Iran from US sanctions, launched mediation efforts to end the conflict, including France's four-point plan presented during the UN event in New York.
Pursuit of Compromise
The plan was aimed at setting up a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani and Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and called on both sides to take measures to reach a compromise.
Based on the proposal, Iran would agree to "never acquire a nuclear weapon," "fully comply with its nuclear obligations," "accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear activities" and "refrain from any aggression and seek genuine peace and respect in the region through negotiations."
The US would in return agree to "lift all the sanctions reimposed since 2017" and ensure that "Iran will have full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues."
Iran accepted the outline of the plan, according to Rouhani, but insisted that the wording needed to be revised.
"The French offered a proposal whose principles contrasted with its text … The expressions used in it and the order in which items are presented still need to be discussed," Zarif said.
Despite French efforts, the presidents of Iran and the US ended up not meeting after Rouhani insisted that Trump first declare the removal of sanctions.
"The reason why Mr. Rouhani did not agree to the propositions was that Mr. Trump officially announced in the UN General Assembly that he would not only not reduce the sanctions against Iran, but will increase them," he said.
Trump had apparently agreed to the French plan, but said in his address to the UN meeting that "as long as Iran's [allegedly] menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted; they will be tightened".
Zarif pointed to US calls for talks conveyed by its allies to Iran, stressing that its willingness for negotiation should be manifested in action, not in secret messages.