Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh. FILE PHOTO

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iran Spokesman Says Nuclear Deal With US Uncertain

4/11/2022

The US has not yet “shown the necessary will” to agree on renewing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.

"What has remained is more than one issue,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters at his weekly press briefing. “All components of maximum pressure need to be removed.”

US ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions have been in place since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 agreement, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), prompting Tehran by 2019 to expand its nuclear program beyond JCPOA limits.

A deal could have been concluded "months ago" had Tehran surrendered to US demands over its “red lines,” Khatibzadeh said. The spokesman reiterated that the "opportunity for dialogue" would not "remain open forever."

The US and Iran reportedly disagree over whether reviving the JCPOA should see the US remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from its list of ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ where Trump placed them in 2019. President Joe Biden’s administration, while committed to restoring the JCPOA, has apparently decided not delist the Guards, the only part of any state’s armed forces so designated, in the face of Congressional opposition to delisting from most Republicans and some Democrats.

The foreign ministry spokesman repeated Iran’s view that the sticking point in talks was the US and not the other world powers with whom Iran has for a year been discussing restoring the JCPOA – China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Referring to criticism of lawmakers from the principlist Paydari group, who have claimed Iranian negotiators have made too many concessions in a draft agreement over JCPOA revival, Khatibzadeh said there was "no final text."

"We have not yet reached the point where the American side demonstrates that it is fulfilling its obligations," Khatibzadeh said, claiming the US wanted to maintain as many of its sanctions as possible. His comments came a day after Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Sunday the US had presented "new conditions" for removing ‘maximum pressure.’

Iranian media and politicians who support the JCPOA have criticized the government over the talks. In a commentary Monday, Jomhouri Eslami newspaper said it should not have claimed over recent months that talks were near agreement or that Iran’s current economic problems would be solved irrespective of sanctions. "What matters is delivering on these promises,” the conservative paper noted.

Jomhouri Eslami linked US sanctions to rising prices. "Seven months appears to be enough time for the new government to take control of the affairs of the country and stop prices from rising,” it opined. “But many commodities have risen by between 50 to 80 percent during this time and pressure on people has doubled.”

Jomhouri Eslami urged the government of President Ebrahim Raisi "to seek help from those who have successful experience in this matter," presumably a reference to those who conducted earlier international talks under the presidency of Hassan Rouhani.

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