Iran: US sanctions move ‘good but not enough’

Iran: US sanctions move ‘good but not enough’
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (AFP)
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Updated 06 February 2022

Iran: US sanctions move ‘good but not enough’

Iran: US sanctions move ‘good but not enough’
  • State Department spokesman Ned Price insisted this US step is a sanctions waiver for the civilian nuclear program and not broader sanctions relief

TEHRAN: US steps on lifting sanctions are “good but not enough,” Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday, hours after Washington announced it was waiving sanctions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

The US action came as talks to restore a 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers over its nuclear program reached an advanced stage, with the issue of sanctions relief a major issue.

“The lifting of some sanctions can, in the true sense of the word, translate into their good will. Americans talk about it, but it should be known that what happens on paper is good but not enough,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

The US State Department on Friday said it was waiving sanctions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program in a technical step necessary to return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, prompting the country to begin pulling back from its commitments under the deal.

The waiver allows other countries and companies to participate in Iran’s civilian nuclear program without triggering US sanctions on them, in the name of promoting safety and nonproliferation.

Iran’s civilian program includes increasing stockpiles of enriched uranium.

Amir-Abdollahian reiterated that one of the “main issues” in the JCPOA talks is obtaining guarantees that the US will not withdraw from the 2015 deal again. “We seek and demand guarantees in the political, legal and economic sectors,” he said, adding that “agreements have been reached in some areas.”

The Vienna negotiations, which include Iran, the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, are at a stage where the sides have to make important “political decisions,” different parties to the negotiations said last week.

“Our negotiating team in the Vienna talks is seriously pursuing obtaining tangible guarantees from the West to fulfil their commitments,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

Earlier on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said: “Naturally, Tehran is carefully considering any action that is in the right direction of fulfilling the obligations of the JCPOA,” local media reported.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN in Vienna, on Saturday called the US waiver decision “a move in the right direction.”

“It will help expedite restoration of #JCPOA and mutual return of #US and #Iran to compliance with 2015 deal. It also can be seen as an indication that the #ViennaTalks have entered the final stage,” he said on Twitter.

Talks on reviving the nuclear deal were halted last week and the negotiators returned to their capitals for consultations. Experts say the JCPOA talks could resume next week.