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EghtesadOnline: Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said diplomacy is a better and lower-cost path to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, calling on the violating parties to resume honoring their commitments as soon as possible.

“If such a thing happens, they will see a better response from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Saeed Khatibzadeh also said at a regular press conference on Monday, ISNA reported. 

The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed between Iran and six world powers, but the United States pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran. The European parties were unable to meet their trade commitments under US pressure and failed to protect Iran’s interests despite their pledges. 

Iran was eventually compelled to take reciprocal measures and scale back its commitments, although it remained within the agreement. 

The new US administration has said it intends to rejoin the deal, but refuses to remove the sanctions until Iran reverses its remedial steps. Iran demands a complete and effective lifting of sanctions before it resumes full compliance. 

“As we have repeatedly declared, our measures are reversible,” Khatibzadeh said. 

He, however, noted that the US has not yet taken an initial step in this regard, not even on paper. 

“We have laid out three stages: definite commitment, effective implementation and then a return to JCPOA [and its meetings],” he said.

In this context, Iran has recently rejected an invitation by the European Union, as the coordinator of the deal, to an informal meeting between JCPOA parties, with the US attending as guest. It argued that with all sanctions in full effect, the time is not ripe for such a meeting. 

Khatibzadeh said Iran regards EU’s efforts in good faith, but reminded that Europeans, along with the US, did not meet their JCPOA obligations. 

“Europeans did not perform their tasks. They made 11 commitments after the US withdrawal but did not fulfill any of them,” he said. 

   

 

US Driving on the Wrong Side 

Iran has continued its reciprocal measures, which have raised concerns among western powers, with US officials claiming that Iran is “moving in the wrong direction”.   

In response, the spokesman said it’s the US that has been driving on the wrong side of the road for several years now and thinks others on the right side are moving in the wrong direction. 

“It is appropriate that the US recognize the right direction of the road as soon as possible, which would benefit the US itself as well as the international community and multilateralism,” he said. 

Most recently, Iran suspended its voluntary accesses to the International Atomic Energy Agency, although it made a temporary black-box-type arrangement to enable continued verification by the agency in case sanctions are removed within three months. 

Alarmed by the measure, European parties proposed a draft resolution at the IAEA Board of Governors to rebuke Iran, only to drop it before the end of the board meeting last week. 

Iran said it made the arrangement with IAEA as a sign of good faith to leave room for diplomacy.  

“The three-month agreement between Iran and the agency opened a window for diplomacy,” Khatibzadeh said. 

Although Iran has had no negotiations with the US, it has been engaged in close talks with the remaining parties in this regard, according to the spokesman. 

He said certain policies are being reviewed inside the country at present and will be shared with the media once finalized. 

He referred to a tweet by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in which he had said that he would “shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action through proper diplomatic channels”.

Asked about a plan for a step-by-step return of the US and Iran to compliance with JCPOA, Khatibzadeh said, “Iran has neither received such a proposal, nor sees it in accordance with its policies. JCPOA has defined the path [signatories need to take].”  

 

JCPOA Iran diplomacy