The Government of the Islamic Republic rejected the US proposal to gradually lift the sanctions, reiterating a direct and total lifting. The announcement, made from the Foreign Ministry, comes a day after both countries confirmed new “indirect talks” in Vienna, next Tuesday, aimed at resuming their commitments made in the nuclear agreement they signed in 2015 together with other powers. .
Tehran on Saturday rejected “a step-by-step plan” for the sanctions imposed by the United States to be lifted and eliminated. “The ultimate policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions,” and not in part or gradually, in the words of the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Said Jatibzade.
These statements came after the US government made it clear on Friday that the measures it takes against Iran will depend on the progress of the new nuclear talks. “We do not anticipate immediate progress as there will be difficult discussions ahead,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
Likewise, the deputy spokeswoman, Jalina Porter, affirmed that the new dialogues will focus on “the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take to return to compliance with the nuclear agreement” and on “the sanctions relief steps” that the United States must take for the return to their commitments.
Following Iran’s rejection, France intervened to ask the Hasan Rohani government to be “constructive” in the process ahead. “I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that will take place (…) They are intended to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be necessary to return to full compliance with the nuclear agreement,” said the French Foreign Minister. , Jean-Yves Le Drian, after a call with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif.
As announced by Tehran and Washington, starting next Tuesday in Vienna (Austria), at the meeting with the members of the nuclear agreement, the two parties will begin negotiations with which they could resume their commitments reached in the historic nuclear agreement they signed in 2015, under the Government of then President Barack Obama and other powers, such as China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and the aforementioned France.
The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is the largest compromise reached to date to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, which according to the West could create an atomic weapon.
What was agreed in the nuclear pact and why is it on the line?
The key points of that pact focused on the fact that Iran would not produce highly enriched uranium during the 15 years following the signing of the agreement, would dispense with 98% of the nuclear material in its hands and would eliminate two thirds of the centrifuges installed in its atomic plants.
In return, the United Nations pledged to lift all sanctions imposed against Tehran, but with some caveats. Weapons sanctions would last for a period of five years and, in the case of ballistic missiles, for eight years. For its withdrawal, Iran had to comply with the “basic steps” of the agreement.
However, some time later the plan was breached by both parties. The main turning point was the withdrawal of Washington from the agreement in 2018, promoted by then-President Donald Trump, who alleged violations of the Rohani Administration to what had been agreed.
In September, Trump unilaterally reinstated all international sanctions against the Islamic Republic, despite the majority of members of the UN Security Council opposed, considering that Washington had no right to appeal this measure after having abandoned the agreement.
But Iran also violated the agreement. It responded with an increase in uranium refining, initially to 4.5% and, more recently, in January, it increased to 20%, according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). These are levels well above what was agreed: 3.67%, although still far from the 90% that is needed to produce an atomic weapon.
In addition, the IAEA assured that the Islamic Republic had 2,967.8 kilos of enriched uranium, ten times more than what was initially allowed in the international agreement. In addition, a small part – 17.6 kilos – was enriched up to 20% purity.
Since his campaign for the presidency, the current president, Joe Biden, has promised to return to his country to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but has also warned that Iran must demonstrate that it has stopped violating it.
The new talks in Vienna will take place with the intervention of the other signatory powers, since Tehran has so far rejected direct talks with Washington. The objective of these talks is to reach an agreement within two months, according to a senior European Union official.
With Reuters and EFE