Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi dismissed plans for any negotiations with the new US administration, saying the only acceptable format for talks in the one envisaged by the JCPOA which the incoming team at the White House should simply rejoin.
In an interview with Italian daily la Repubblica, published on January 20, Araqchi rejected reports on confidential contacts with US President Joe Biden’s administration, stressing that Tehran has no intention of starting any talks with Washington.
Asked about the chances for dialogue between Iran and the US under Biden, Araqchi said, “I believe there is a fairly effective format still standing, which is the one envisaged by the JCPOA. They have left that table, they can go back and resume discussions, and we can discuss in that context. At the moment we are not interested in any direct contact, we think that the JCPOA is the right format: even before returning to respect the treaty, the Americans can come there to restart the discussion.”
On the prospect of Iran’s relationship with the new US administration, he said, “The opportunities are always there, it’s up to the parties to know how to seize them. There are possibilities for Iran, for the US. We hope the new administration makes the right decisions.”
Asked whether it is realistic to expect the US to simply re-enter the JCPOA and lift the sanctions, Araqchi said, “What Iran is asking for is something realistic: simply to re-enter the agreement they have abandoned with Trump. I don’t see other alternatives. We have negotiated in good faith and applied JCPO in good faith. It is now up to the new administration to correct the mistakes of their predecessors.”
“I confirm it today: we are ready to respect all the commitments of the JCPOA if the Americans return to respect them and lift the sanctions,” he underlined.
The JCPOA was signed in 2015 between Iran and six world states —the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China— and was ratified in the form of Resolution 2231.
However, the US under former president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 and reinstated the sanctions that had been lifted by the deal.
As the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain and compensate for Washington’s absence, Iran moved in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments.