JCPOA Talks May Be Extended: Iranian Diplomat
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian deputy foreign minister raised the possibility of an extension of the negotiations with the European parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on maintaining the nuclear deal in the wake of US withdrawal from it.
Speaking at a televised program on Sunday, Abbas Araqchi said if Iran concludes that the negotiations with Europe on saving the JCPOA are going on well, the deadline could be extended.
“We have set a time limit of a couple of weeks for them. Whether or not the deadline will be extended depends on the (Iranian) Establishment’s decisions,” he added.
Araqchi also said that the progress achieved in the talks with the non-US JCPOA parties over the past two weeks has given him a prospect that the situation has become clearer.
It is up to Europe to rise to the challenges of honoring the JCPOA under the US pressure, the Iranian diplomat said, adding that although the Europeans appear to have the seriousness to save the deal, the next few weeks will prove whether they can practically maintain the nuclear accord and fulfill Iran’s expectations or not.
Araqchi further said that Iran may decide to withdraw from the JCPOA under Clause 36 of the deal at the conclusion of negotiations if its demands are not met, stressing that the region without the JCPOA will not be any better or safer.
The deputy minister also underlined that the talks on the JCPOA cover nothing other than nuclear issues.
“We have separated the missile and human rights issues from the JCPOA, while (US President) Trump seeks to reconnect them (to the nuclear deal). Europe must implement and honor the JCPOA in its existing shape… If they are willing to hold talks on other issues, they’d need to attract our interests as well,” he went on to say.
On May 8, the US president pulled his country out of the JCPOA, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations among Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).
Following the US exit, Iran and the remaining parties have launched talks to save the accord.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has underlined that any decision to keep the JCPOA running without the US should be conditional on “practical guarantees” from the three European parties to the deal.
In comments on May 23, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that Europeans must protect Iranian oil sales from the US pressure and continue buying Iranian crude, and must promise they would not seek new negotiations on Iran's missile program and regional activities.
“European banks should safeguard trade with the Islamic Republic. We do not want to start a fight with these three countries (France, Germany and Britain), but based on their past records, we don't trust them either,” the Leader said.