US Fully Prepared to Lift Sanctions Inconsistent With JCPOA Commitments - US Envoy to UN
20:49 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 16:59 GMT 31.07.2023)
Washington withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under the Trump administration in 2018 after the then-US president accused Iran of violating the stipulations of the historic agreement. Amid ongoing talks in Vienna to renew the treaty, the UK, US, and Germany have warned that time is running out.
The United States is fully prepared to lift those sanctions against Iran that are inconsistent with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a senior administration official confirmed on Tuesday.
The lifting of sanctions would effectively allow Iran to receive the economic benefits of the nuclear deal that were crucial in securing the agreement in 2015.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations, remarked during a UN Security meeting that Washington was ready to do away with some of the sanctions.
"We're fully prepared to lift sanctions inconsistent with our JCPOA commitments, which would allow Iran to receive the economic benefits of the deal", she said. "We're convinced that if Iran approaches talks in Vienna with urgency and critique, we can quickly reach and implement an understanding on mutual return".
Moments after Thomas-Greenfield's remarks, Iran's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a statement that Tehran needs assurances on sanctions in order for to talks to progress on the resumption of the 2015 deal.
"The only solution is the commitment of all parties to the full, effective, and verifiable implementation of JCPOA", Ravanchi said on Tuesday. "Obviously, Iran must be assured that all sanctions will be lifted, the US will not withdraw from the accord again and it will not abuse the procedures set out in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231".
The Biden administration believes the JCPOA is the best route to limit Iran's ability to acquire a nuclear weapon. Negotiations over the deal began in 2013 and lasted 18 months before being signed in 2015. US President Joe Biden served as vice president in the Obama administration during the initial negotiations.
The 15-year agreement set parameters and allowed outside oversight on Iran's nuclear programme. As part of the agreement, the United States and the European Union lifted economic sanctions and unfroze $100 billion in Iranian assets in overseas banks.
The agreement allowed for snap-back sanctions in the event Iran deviated from the agreed upon constraints on their nuclear programme.
Under the Trump administration, the United States unilaterally left the agreement in 2018 and renewed sanctions against Iran after accusing the nation of violating the predetermined requirements. The US withdrawal put immediate economic pressure on Iran, which prompted their request for European assistance to mitigate the effects of US sanctions.
Iran, due to the US withdrawal, slowly dropped the restrictions on its commitments after the Trump administration began a "maximum pressure" campaign in a bid to force Iran to bend to its wishes.
Under the Biden administration, hopes have remained high that tensions between the two nations would ease, however, that has not been the case.
Officials Reportedly Accelerating Talks in Event Vienna Negotiations Fail
While there is hope that the JCPOA will regain momentum once economic sanctions are lifted against Iran, American and European officials are still mapping out a potential back-up plan in the event that talks in Vienna prove fruitless.
Earlier on Tuesday, sources revealed
correspondent Amichai Stein that next-step discussions were becoming "more serious" in case the talks fall apart.
"The officials added that the talks are mainly on snapback of sanctions and the diplomatic manner the countries should take, and the need for a 'unified stance' against Iran if the talks fail", the reporter detailed.
13 December 2021, 00:36 GMT
Negotiators have been holding talks in Vienna for months with the goal of all parties coming to terms on resuming the 2015 deal, but the discussion has been far from easy going. Earlier, the US announced
that it had called off the latest round of talks after officials concluded that Iranian officials were not being "serious" and had rescinded all previous concessions.
After a months-long stall earlier this year, talks in Vienna resumed on November 29th.