Iran on Wednesday urged the US Congress to issue a “political statement” that Washington will remain committed to a possible agreement in the negotiations in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.
The accord offered relief from Tehran’s sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program, but then US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 and re-imposed severe sanctions.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian urged the US guarantee on the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in an interview with the Financial Times, published on his ministry’s website.
“On principle, public opinion in Iran cannot accept the words of a head of state, let alone the United States, as a guarantee because of the withdrawal of Americans from the JCPOA,” he said.
He stressed that he had asked Iranian negotiators to propose to Western parties that “at least their parliaments or parliament presidents, including the US Congress, can declare their commitment to the agreement and return to the JCPOA in the form of a political statement.” implementation”.
The talks in Vienna involve Iran as well as Great Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and indirectly the United States. They want to bring the US back to the nuclear deal, including by lifting sanctions against Iran, and ensuring that Tehran fully honors its obligations.
“Iran’s commitments are as clear as a mathematical formula,” said Amir-Abdollahian.
“It is absolutely clear what we need to do and how these measures will be verified” by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, he said, adding that the other parties “have nothing to worry about”.
“But we remain particularly concerned about the guarantees” from the American side, he noted, adding that “we are facing problems during this period because the other side has no serious initiative”.
Talks in the Austrian capital resumed in late November after a lull following the election of ultra-conservative president Ebrahim Raisi in June.
The US had announced its willingness to engage in direct talks with Iran to resolve the remaining issues, but Tehran has said conditions must be met before the two arch-rivals can sit down at the negotiating table.
“We are not ready to enter into the process of direct talks with the US if we do not have a clear and promising prospects for reaching a good deal with sustainable guarantees ahead of us,” said Iran’s top diplomat.
If the US’s intentions are “sincere”, it needs to take some “practical and tangible steps on the ground before direct talks and contacts can take place,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian said any direct dialogue, contact and negotiations with Washington would have “a very high cost to my government.”
Relations between the US and Iran have been broken since April 1980, just months after the fall of the Shah and the occupation of the US embassy and following the hostage crisis.