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People's Daily Online

Sanctions, sabotage not to help U.S. as negotiating tools: Iranian FM

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:07, April 14, 2021

TEHRAN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. officials should understand that neither sanctions nor acts of sabotage on Iran's nuclear facility will work in their favor at the ongoing nuclear talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday.

"We have no problem with returning to nuclear deal commitments ... but the Americans should know that neither sanctions nor sabotage will give them the means to negotiate, and that these actions will only make the situation more difficult for them," Zarif said at a joint press conference with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

A blackout struck the Natanz enrichment facility in central Iran on Sunday morning. Israeli media widely reported that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was behind a cyberattack that caused the incident. The White House said on Monday that the United States was not involved in the attack.

Zarif noted despite the sabotage, Iran will run even more advanced centrifuges for enrichment at the Natanz facility.

He was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency that when former U.S. President Donald Trump assumed office, Iran used only the IR-1 centrifuge, while today the IR-6 chains are working.

Sunday's development has complicated efforts to rescue the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Nuclear talks were held in Vienna this month, with the lifting of sanctions on Iran and nuclear implementation measures on top of the agenda.

Iran has gradually stopped implementing its commitments since May 2019, one year after the Trump administration unilaterally abandoned the agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

If the United States wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, it must remove all the sanctions against Iran, Zarif said.

It is also necessary for the United States to return to its commitments, he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also lauded Russia's stance against the recent sabotage against the Natanz nuclear site, stressing the need for continued cooperation between the two countries.

For his part, Lavrov said Russia's position is clear and all sanctions against Iran should be lifted unconditionally. "I hope that by lifting sanctions on Iran, more cooperation environment will be created," Lavrov was quoted by IRNA as saying.

The only way to revive the JCPOA is Washington's full implementation of its commitments and acting in accordance with the UN Security Council and UN resolutions, he said, warning if Washington fails to do so, it might be a dangerous act with dire consequences.

"We are trying to help the Americans and the Iranians return to their commitments," Lavrov said.

Also on Tuesday, Iran and Russia signed an agreement for the establishment of cultural centers between the two countries, IRNA reported.

Lavrov, who arrived in Iran's capital Tehran on Tuesday, discussed regional and international, and economic cooperation with Zarif. The Russian foreign minister also met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

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