Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in a telephone call with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, rejected as “meaningless” the notion that the Islamic Republic may hold talks with the US administration while the economic sanctions are in place.
In the telephone conversation on Wednesday evening, Rouhani said the US has evaded its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by withdrawing from the international accord.
“From the viewpoint of Iran’s administration, parliament and people, as long as the sanctions are in place, negotiation with the US is meaningless,” he said.
Rouhani further pointed to Iran’s third step in reducing its JCPOA commitments and said that Tehran is ready to return to the commitments and that talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France, and Germany) would be held only if the sanctions are lifted.
He also emphasized that the JCPOA’s strength and the security of all waterways, including the Persian Gulf, are two major goals that would benefit all countries, including the European Union member states and even the United States.
Macron, for his part, referred to his government’s intense negotiations with the US over Iran and said Paris would continue the efforts to implement the deal and reach an understanding.
The Iranian and French presidents also agreed to continue their consultations on the issue.
Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi on Saturday announced details of the country’s “third step” in reducing commitments under the JCPOA.
Back in July, Iran had declared the second step to reduce its commitments by ramping up the level of uranium enrichment to over 3.67 percent.
Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the nuclear deal but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.
Iran and the Group 5+1 on July 14, 2015, reached a conclusion over the text of the JCPOA.
The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation was hampered by the US policies and its eventual withdrawal from the deal.
On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear accord.
Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the deal.
However, the EU’s failure to ensure Iran’s economic interests forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments, including an unlimited rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.
Kamalvandi recently said that the country’s enriched uranium stockpile has reached 360 to 370 kilograms.