Iran's Top Diplomat Says US Sending 'Negative Sign' to Tehran on JCPOA's Future by Keeping Sanctions

© REUTERS / LISI NIESNERThe Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.09.2021
The last round of negotiations on returning both countries to the 2015 nuclear deal abruptly ended in June without reaching any agreement. The cessation of talks was connected with then-looming presidential election in Iran and imminent change of the nation's cabinet.
Tehran is ready to return to talks on restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal) and will do so "soon", Iran's new Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has stated in an interview with NBC News.
The Biden administration, however, hasn't done much to facilitate it, he noted, adding that, in fact, it has done the opposite. No only did the new US president maintain the sanctions imposed on Iran by Donald Trump after his administration's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018, but he also added fresh measures to the list, Amirabdollahian lamented

"They say, 'We are ready to return to the fulfillment of our commitments'. However, there is no action taken in order to show and prove the true will to the new Iranian administration. In other words, President Biden was and is criticising the behaviour of his predecessor, Mr Trump vis-à-vis Iran, but at the same time, the volume of the file of sanctions that Mr Trump built against Iran is being carried carefully by Mr Biden".

Amirabdollahian went on to add that such behaviour was a "negative sign, signal to Iran". The top Iranian diplomat recalled Biden vowing to start an age of diplomacy and suggested that POTUS should back his words by doing something tangible to show Tehran his true intentions.
The new foreign minister stopped short of elaborating about any date or deadline that Iran plans to restart the JCPOA talks with the US and other signatories. He noted that Tehran was still evaluating the outcome of the previous round of talks.
"We are assessing and I can tell you that we have had many meetings and we will keep the window of diplomacy and negotiations open. And we will very soon return to the negotiations".

Vienna Talks Fail to Return US and Iran to JCPOA Compliance

The last round of talks, which took place in Vienna, ended without any concrete results despite the sides claiming to have reached an agreement on some, but not all issues. The abrupt end of negotiations in June 2021 was linked to the presidential election in Iran, which would end the presidency of Hassan Rouhani and lead to changes in the cabinet, as well as, possibly, in Iran's policies. The new president, Ebrahim Raisi, vowed to continue talks until they reach a result – the lifting of sanctions.
A picture taken on November 10, 2019, shows an Iranian flag in Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, during an official ceremony to kick-start works on a second reactor at the facility - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.09.2021
Iran's Foreign Minister Says Tehran Will Return to JCPOA Negotiations Soon
The US slapped hefty sanctions on the energy, shipping, and banking sectors of the Iranian economy, as well as several politicians, leading to the country's exclusion from the SWIFT network used by banks for money wires. The shift in policy came after then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the JCPOA on 8 May 2018, claiming that the deal was flawed. In response, Tehran started to gradually scale back its commitments under the nuclear deal a year later – in 2019. The country boosted its nuclear fuel reserves as well as ramped up uranium enrichment – far beyond the levels allowed by the JCPOA.
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