Iran’s envoy to UN calls full compliance with nuclear deal ‘absurd’

Geneva: Washington’s call for Tehran’s full compliance with the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is absurd, since the US keeps itself “totally out of the agreement,” breaching its terms, Iran’s permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva, Esmaeil Baghaei, Hamaneh said on Wednesday.

Washington and Tehran are currently in a diplomatic catch 22, with each side demanding the other take the first step. US President Joe Biden signaled a readiness to engage Iran at the negotiation table but only on the condition that it suspend uranium enrichment, while Tehran continues to demand a confidence-building sanctions removal in order to revert to the text of the JCPOA.

“It is absurd to repeat asking Iran to return to full compliance while you either keep yourself totally out of the agreement and in absolute material breach of its terms or remain in significant non-performance of your commitments due to your appeasement with the major violator,” Hamaneh said in his video address at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

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The diplomat added that the responsibility for returning to the deal, restarting it and compensating for the damage lies with the “offending party,” which must also prove that it will no longer renege from the terms of the agreement.

In 2015, Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union signed the nuclear deal, stipulating the removal of international sanctions from Tehran in exchange for it scaling down its nuclear program. In 2018, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran. Tehran responded by gradually abandoning its own commitments.

In December, Iran passed a law to increase its uranium enrichment and stop IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites in a bid to achieve the removal of US economic sanctions. In early January, Iran’s atomic energy organization announced that the country had succeeded in enriching uranium at 20 percent at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

Tehran had also set February 22 as the latest date by which Washington must lift the strangling economic sanctions lest it boots international observers from the country. In the last gasp negotiations over the weekend, Tehran agreed to keep monitoring and verification of its nuclear program ongoing, albeit in a limited capacity.

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