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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Iran open to 'permanent for permanent' formula with US: Zarif

Iran Press TV

Tue Sep 24, 2019 07:59AM

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran is open to the idea of a permanent for permanent machanism with the United States, which means Iran will agree to permanent inspections of its nuclear facilities if the US also agrees to permanently lift its sanctions against Iran -- measures that the two sides were supposed to take in 2023 under a multilateral nuclear deal prior to Washington's withdrawal.

In an interview with CNN broadcast on Monday, Zarif confirmed an earlier offer, under which the Iranian Parliament would enshrine in law a fatwa (religious decree) by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei against nuclear weapons and sign the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in return for the US lifting all anti-Iran sanctions and ratifying the measure through Congress.

"That offer is still on the table provided that the US would also do what they are supposed to do in 2023 now and that is to lift the sanctions through US Congress," he said.

"We are prepared, if President Trump is serious about permanent for permanent. Permanent peaceful nuclear program in Iran and permanent monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities, as you said, through the most intrusive IAEA inspection mechanism that exists, in return for what he has said he is prepared to do and that is to go to Congress and have this ratified, which would mean Congress lifting the sanctions," he added.

The 2015 nuclear deal, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and six world states – namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – in 2015.

Under the agreement, Iranian sanctions relief would be sent to Congress for ratification in 2023.

Washington, however, pulled out of the deal in May 2018, with Trump calling it the "worst deal" ever and urging a "new" nuclear deal with Iran.

Tehran, however, says it will negotiate no new deal and has been, since May 2019, suspending parts of its commitments in retaliation for Washington's withdrawal from the accord and Europe's failure to protect Iran against the American bans.

Earlier on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for a new "Trump deal" with Iran to replace the existing "bad deal."

Shortly after his comments, France, Germany and the UK added backing to Trump's call and issued a joint statement, saying, "The time has come for Iran to accept negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear program as well as on issues related to regional security."

In response, Zarif took to Twitter to rule out the possibility of negotiating a new pact.

"E3's paralysis in fulfilling their obligations w/o US permission has been clear since May 2018 ... No new deal before compliance w/ current one," he tweeted.

On Trump-Rouhani meeting

Asked if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani would meet his American counterpart on the sidelines of the 74th session of United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, Zarif reiterated Tehran's position on the issue and said "provided that President Trump is ready to do what's necessary."

Tehran has already announced that the only way for the US to enter negotiations with Iran -- within the framework of multilateral meetings that also include other cosignatories to the deal -- is for Washington to return to the nuclear deal and halt the economic sanctions against Iran.

Iran 'won't initiate any war'

The top Iranian diplomat further reiterated that the country will not be the initiator of any war, but stands ready to defend itself.

"If the United States starts a war it will not be the one ending it. But, we won't start a war, I can promise you that our military will not start a war. We are very clear that if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves and there won't be a limited war."

Zarif also highlighted the vulnerability of Saudi Arabia's Western interception systems, which came to light after Yemen carried out drone strikes on the kingdom's key oil facilities.

He reminded the Saudis that they cannot buy security by purchasing weapons, adding, "It a much easier road if they simply start talking to their neighbors."

He underlined the need for Iran and its neighboring states "to start working together for peace, for confidence-building, for de-escalation, for exchanges, and even for a non-aggression pact."

"The olive branch has always been on the table, but we are showing it again," he added.

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