A top hardliner in Tehran says the only real guarantee for Iran in a nuclear agreement would be its right to withdraw from the NPT if the US abandons the deal.
Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the Kayhan daily, the flagship hardliner newspaper affiliated with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei argued on Thursday that no guarantee by the United States is worth the paper it is written on.
“I would dare to say that no guarantee from the United States is reliable” or valid Shariatmadari wrote, recounting the withdrawal of the Trump administration from the 2015 nuclear agreement, the JCPOA.
The ultra-hardliner editor is also Khamenei’s representative at the Kayhan.
As nuclear talks between Iran and the West have reached a critical stage, with the Biden administration reviewing the latest written Iranian response to a European Union text, some Khamenei loyalists continue to make more demands. But Shriatmadari’s article was re-published in most Iranian websites on Wednesday, even those considered to be “reformist’.
Shariatmadari, writing in his Editor’s Note, questioned the value of any US guarantee, a key demand by Iranian negotiators that is still preventing an agreement. Referring to the unilateral withdrawal of the Trump administration from the JCPOA, he said that Washington can again easily renege and abandon any new agreement.
He even fired a shot at foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian for saying that a US verbal guarantee should be presented in writing.
Shariatmadari dismissed this demand, saying that no US guarantee, even endorsed by the UN Security Council, can be trusted.
He argued that the only guarantee for Iran would be wording in the new agreement that it will withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if the United States once again abandons a restored JCPOA. He said Iran would be accountable to no one, not even the United Nations, if it decides to leave the NPT.
Leaving the non-proliferation agreement would mean no international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities, Shariatmadari said, assuring readers that there would be no consequence for Iran, as article 10 of the treaty allows signatories to withdraw from the agreement.
The Khamenei loyalist also demanded that all US sanctions should be verifiably lifted, not just those imposed since 2018 when former President Donald Trump exited the JCPOA. If sanctions imposed “under hostile and ad hoc labels such as human rights, regional presence or missile program” stay, then it means no sanctions have been removed and new ones can be imposed in the future, Shariatmadari argued.
Since the US presidential election in November 2020, and Biden’s announcement that he would return to the JCPOA, Iran has been demanding the removal of all sanctions, but Washington says it will not lift terrorism and other non-nuclear sanctions.
Iran’s negotiating team “has stood against excessive demands of the rival” so far, but they should “demand the removal of all sanctions in the upcoming agreement,” no matter what their label might be, Shariatmadari said. Otherwise, “Rest assured that practically no sanction can be considered lifted.”