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Iran Press TV

Iran not interested in 'direct contact' with Biden administration for now: Senior diplomat

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 23 January 2021 3:38 PM

A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic has had no contact with the administration of new US President Joe Biden, stressing that any possible talks could only be held within the "right format" of a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement signed between Tehran and major world powers.

"Currently, we are not interested in making any direct contact and we think that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the right format, and [any possible] talks should be conducted in that framework," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper la Repubblica published on Saturday.

He added that Iran has "realistic" demands from Biden's administration, which are the lifting of sanctions by Washington and its returning to the nuclear deal.

"I don't see other alternatives. We have negotiated in good faith and implemented the JCPOA in good faith. It is now up to the new [US] administration to correct the mistakes of their predecessors. The US is the party that has abandoned the agreement: it is up to them to decide what to do," the senior Iranian diplomat said.

To re-enter the agreement they must remove all the sanctions they have imposed on Iran, Araqchi said, adding, "We are ready to fulfill all our commitments as per the JCPOA provided that the Americans live up to their obligations and lift sanctions."

In response to a question about efforts by the European signatories to the nuclear deal – Britain, France and Germany – to include non-nuclear issues in the JCPOA, he said, "There will be no JCPOA plus, there will not be another agreement, there will not be new negotiations on the JCPOA."

He also rejected calls for inclusion of Iran's missile power in any talks.

The Iranian diplomat said Tehran has no "particular stance" on the transfer of power in the US as it is just waiting to see how the new president intends to correct former President Donald Trump's wrong positions.

Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018.

After abandoning the deal, Washington re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions lifted by the accord and launched a push to fully destroy the agreement by trying to dissuade the remaining signatories from staying in the agreement and threatening sanctions against any party that refuses to cut business ties with Tehran in defiance of American sanctions.

Washington's pressure successfully blocked the European co-signatories from fulfilling their contractual obligations, a situation that prompted Tehran to retaliate and suspend parts of its own commitments under Article 26 and 36 of the JCPOA.

In an op-ed article published Friday by American magazine Foreign Affairs, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the new US president to end his predecessor's fruitless pressure policy against Iran and begin the process of rejoining the JCPOA by lifting all unilateral sanctions unconditionally, warning that the "window of opportunity will not be open" for the new White House team forever.

Zarif said Trump failed to make Iran give in to his demands through his "maximum pressure" campaign that ensued Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear accord.

Elsewhere in his interview, Araqchi said possible talks about other issues depend on how the JCPOA will be implemented.

Regarding the Persian Gulf's security, he said this is an issue that can be the subject of dialogue among regional countries without foreign interference, stressing, "The security of the region can be discussed collectively."

Italy among Iran's first trading partners

Araqchi also pointed to good relations between Iran and Italy that have always been based on mutual respect and said, "Italy has always been one of Iran's top trading partners. If the sanctions are lifted, economic relations between our two countries will be able to resume."

However, he noted that even if the sanctions remain in place, "the two countries will still have the possibility of creating mechanisms to strengthen their relations."

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