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5 Feb, 2022 13:10

Iran responds to US sanctions relief

Washington’s lifting of sanctions is “good but not enough,” Iranian foreign minister says
Iran responds to US sanctions relief

Iran’s foreign minister has welcomed the US’ lifting of some sanctions on his country’s civilian nuclear program, but said that the move is “not enough.” The sanctions were waived as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to talk Iran back into the 2015 nuclear deal.

"The lifting of some sanctions can, in the true sense of the word, translate into the good will Americans talk, but it should be known that what happens on paper is good but not enough," Amir-Abdollahian told Iran’s state-run INSA news agency on Saturday.

“Good will, in our viewpoint, means that something tangible happens on the ground,” Amir-Abdollahian continued, explaining that Tehran wants “guarantees in the political, legal and economic sectors” that the US won’t simply pull out of the deal again.

The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed by Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany and the EU in 2015. Under its terms, Iran agreed to strict oversight of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from US and UN sanctions. Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018, claiming that Iran was not in compliance, and biting economic sanctions were reimposed.

The US State Department waived some of these sanctions on Friday, allowing foreign companies to engage in some civilian projects at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station, Tehran Research Reactor, and Arak heavy water plant.

The waiving of sanctions is intended to “help to close a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and lay the groundwork for Iran’s return to performance of its JCPOA commitments,” the State Department said in a notice to Congress.

Upon taking office in January 2021, US President Joe Biden said he was open to returning to the JCPOA if Iran came back into compliance. Tehran responded that Washington needs to come into compliance first, starting with the removal of sanctions.

“If the parties are ready to lift sanctions, the ground for reaching an agreement on nuclear issues is absolutely ready,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told RT in an exclusive interview last month.

Discussions aimed at reviving the JCPOA are currently underway in Vienna. US and Iranian negotiators, along with delegations from Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia, have so far held eight rounds of talks in the Austrian capital.