Middle east

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Dismisses Possibility of ‘Step-By-Step’ Lifting of Sanctions by US

The statement follows remarks by the US State Department deputy spokeswoman, who noted the Joint Commission of the parties to the Iran nuclear deal will be discussing “sanctions relief steps” that Washington will have to take in order to return to compliance with the accord.

Iran will not accept a gradual lifting of US sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated in an interview with PressTV.

“The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading”, Khatibzadeh elaborated.

The ministry spokesperson’s statements go in line with Tehran’s previous demands for Washington to return to compliance with the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal) and lift all sanctions on the country. In return, Iran promised to remove the “remedial” measures it has enacted over the past two years in response to the US withdrawal from the accord.

Tehran namely exceeded the nuclear fuel stockpile limits and the 3.66% uranium enrichment ceiling set by the JCPOA’s provisions. Iran made a decision to gradually scale back on its commitments in 2019, a year after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and started imposing sanctions on Tehran. The Islamic Republic argued that since it was no longer benefiting from the accord, due to crippled oil trade and severed access to the global banking system, it would no longer abide by its provisions.

No US-Iran Talks Planned at Vienna JCPOA Summit

Khatibzadeh’s comment came in the wake of US Department of State Deputy Spokeswoman Jalina Porter’s statements that America is going to attend a meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA members in Vienna on 6 April. She clarified that the summit will pursue two goals: discussing steps that Iran must take to return to compliance with the accord, and working out “sanctions relief steps” that the US would also need to make in order to return to the JCPOA.

Washington’s attendance at the Vienna meeting was not expected due to Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif not including the country in his announcement of the Joint Commission’s assembly on 6 April. But the US State Department later confirmed that it will be present at the event.

The two, however, are not planning to engage in direct talks during the meeting, with Foreign Minister Zarif calling such negotiations “unnecessary” at the moment. Iran has repeatedly said that it will not engage in talks with Washington unless the latter lifts all sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump. Zarif’s deputy, Abbas Araqchi, later confirmed that Tehran’s delegation will not be communicating with its American colleagues “at any level”. He also added that Iran would not mind if other parties to the JCPOA attempt to bring the US back into the nuclear deal.

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