All sanctions on Iran should be lifted, Kayhan newspaper said Thursday after Tehran’s agreement over UN inspections raised hopes for the Vienna nuclear talks.
Hossein Shariatmadari, the paper’s hardline editor and a long-time critic of nuclear negotiations, criticized Iranian representatives for recent remarks referring to lifting of "JCPOA-related" instead of "all" sanctions as the aim of talks.
The veteran editor, whose newspaper is financed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office, was a critic of the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), which talks in Vienna are working to revive after the United States left in 2018 and imposed ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions on Iran.
Shariatmadari argued that the recent statements from Iranian negotiators were inconsistent with promises made by President Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) when he took office in August.
"What's the use of Vienna talks, what's the purpose behind them, and how can they be justified if the lifting of sanctions is to be limited to JCPOA-related sanctions and the same sanctions are to remain under other delusive, hostile pretexts such as human rights, terrorism, missile industries, regional presence, and so on," Shariatmadari wrote.
Hossein Shariatmadari, the ultra-hardliner editor of Kayhan daily, financed by Khamenei.
During the June election, Raisi said he would, if it were in “the people’s interests,” support restoring the JCPOA, which imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear activities that it has breached since 2019. But Raisi’s victory enthused many opponents of the deal, including the Kayhan editor.
Shariatmadari demanded in his editorial that talks be stopped until Israel, India, Pakistan signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and gave up their nuclear weapons. "Why should Iran remain an NPT member when it can leave the treaty according to its Article 10?” he asked.
Hopes for the Vienna talks were boosted Wednesday as the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Tehran had agreed to allow agency inspectors to service equipment at the Karaj manufacturing plant.
Tehran had barred the IAEA from the site, which manufactures parts used in the nuclear program, following an attack in June widely attributed to Israel. IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi claimed Iran had agreed in September, under the latest temporary arrangement for access, to inspectors replacing equipment, including cameras, at the site. Early in the year, Tehran cut back access more or less to that requited by the NPT.
"This is important for verification under the Iran nuclear deal, and work will continue to address other outstanding safeguards issues," the IAEA chief Rafael Grossi tweeted Wednesday. While the IAEA is not directly involved in the Vienna talks, it would be expected to monitor a revived JCPOA and is the main source of information internationally on the Iranian nuclear program.
Tehran's move apparently improved the atmosphere in Vienna. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s lead negotiator in the talks, tweeted that the agreement was a “real breakthrough” that “fully corresponds to the needs of int. [sic] community.”
"At least I don’t hear anymore rumours [sic] about extraordinary IAEA Board of Governors meeting,” Ulyanov wrote, referring to US threats to raise a motion censuring Iran at the agency’s governing body.
A US official told Reuters Wednesday that the US would not seek an IAEA board meeting if Iran implemented the agreement." Of course, if there are any new nuclear escalations, we would react accordingly," the official added.