Iran hails lifting of US sanctions as ‘good’ but ‘not yet sufficient’ for deal

Iran welcomed the United States’ decision to grant international waivers of sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, but said more steps would be needed to achieve a mutual return to its 2015 nuclear deal.

A State Department spokesperson said Newsweek Friday that President Joe Biden’s administration had “decided to reinstate a sanctions waiver to allow third-party participation in nuclear nonproliferation and security projects in Iran due to growing nonproliferation concerns, particularly regarding the increase of enriched uranium stockpiles in Iran.”

The move follows last month’s eighth round of indirect talks between the United States and Iran alongside other parties to the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) in the capital Austrian from Vienna. Former President Donald Trump left the deal in 2018 and, although his administration offered similar waivers for two years after the exit, he would continue to impose tough economic restrictions on Tehran, which has dramatically increased the enrichment of ‘uranium.

The Biden administration has called for a return to the deal after what the State Department spokesperson called a “reckless decision to leave the JCPOA” by the Trump administration.

Contacted to comment on the latest developments, the Iranian Foreign Ministry shared with Newsweek Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian’s remarks on Saturday.

“Goodwill in practice, in our view, is something tangible that happens on the ground,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “The lifting of certain sanctions is in itself an objective and real translation of the goodwill that the Americans talk about. What happens on paper is good, but not enough.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a press conference with his Syrian counterpart (not pictured) in the Iranian capital Tehran on December 6, 2021. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP) (Photo by /AFP via Getty Images)
ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Both Washington and Tehran have acknowledged that the latest round of talks resulted in progress, but the State Department spokesperson with whom Newsweek spoke on Thursday said the latest decision should be taken as a sign that a broader deal was imminent.

“This is not a signal that we are close to reaching agreement on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” the State Department spokesperson said.

On the contrary, the decision was made to facilitate dialogue with other countries seeking to carry out activities in Iran without triggering American sanctions.

“Absent this sanctions waiver, detailed technical discussions with third parties regarding stockpile disposal and other activities of non-proliferation value cannot take place,” the Department of Defense spokesperson said. ‘State.

Such technical talks “are needed in the final weeks of the JCPOA talks, and the waiver itself would be critical to ensuring Iran’s prompt compliance with its nuclear commitments.”

“If the talks do not result in a return to the nuclear accord, such technical talks could still help achieve our nonproliferation goals,” the State Department spokesman said.

Regarding the timing, the State Department spokesperson noted that “we are issuing the waiver now for one simple reason: it will allow some of our international partners to have more detailed technical discussions to enable cooperation which we consider to be in our non-proliferation interests”. .”

The State Department spokesperson also stressed that the waiver should not be a sign that the Biden administration has caved in on its own demands for Iran to reduce its nuclear activities as negotiations continue.

“To be clear: this is not a concession to Iran,” the State Department spokesperson said. “The nuclear non-proliferation and security projects enabled by this waiver are in our vital national interest as well as in the interest of the region and the world – and will continue to be so regardless of the outcome of the talks in Vienna. “

“The waiver was issued on a discretionary basis with these objectives in mind, and not pursuant to an undertaking or as part of a quid pro quo,” the State Department spokesperson added.

The State Department spokesperson’s comments were later reiterated to Newsweek Saturday by a second senior State Department official.

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