Iran Serious in Efforts to Reach Lasting Agreement in JCPOA Revival Talks: FM

Iran Serious in Efforts to Reach Lasting Agreement in JCPOA Revival Talks: FM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reiterated the country’s resolve to reach a lasting deal in the talks on the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and removal of sanctions.

“Iran is determined in its efforts to reach a serious and lasting agreement on the nuclear issue,” the foreign minister told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in an interview during his visit to Rome earlier this week.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Let s start with the war in Ukraine: Iran has clearly condemned the conflict, but not the Russian aggression. Why?

A: Since the beginning of the conflict we made clear we are against the war in Ukraine. When I say ‘clearly’ I mean we are against Russia's military attack in Ukraine. Since the start of the war we have tried to stop it and to initiate political negotiations between the parties involved. I myself have contacted the Foreign Minister of Ukraine three times and the Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov many more times. We are convinced war is not the solution for Ukraine and that even if the conflict lasts for a long time, there will be no other way to resolve it other than through negotiations.


Q: The Kremlin has just announced (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will be in Tehran next week to discuss Syria. Will you also discuss Ukraine?

A: It will be a trilateral summit in Astana format. The first in person summit in three years. Important issues such as the return of Syrian refugees to their country, sanctions against Syria, and the possibility of Turkish military operations in the border area to fight terrorism, will be discussed. (Iranian) President (Ebrahim) Raisi met with President Putin in Turkmenistan a fortnight ago and told him that while Iran understands the roots of the war, it remains opposed to the conflict. We will certainly continue our efforts to reach a ceasefire in Ukraine by taking advantage of President Putin’s presence.


Q: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that Russia is in the process of acquiring missile-carrying drones from Iran. What is your government's response?

A: We cooperate with Russia on many levels and one of them is the defense sector: but we are not going to help either side in this war because we believe it has to be stopped. I think the current problem with the conflict is that in some Western countries, including the United States, there are armament manufacturers trying to sell their products. We will avoid any action that could lead to escalation, but we will work to stop the war.


Q: What is the status of the negotiations for the resumption of the JCPOA nuclear agreement? The last meetings, in Doha, did not go well....

A: The new Iranian government has engaged in serious negotiations with its counterparts on the nuclear issue. We have redacted a draft the 4+1, and also the US, agree with to a 90%. We are presently discussing lifting sanctions with the US: they are proceeding through the EU and the foreign ministers of some countries. Good progress has been made both on the draft and on the ideas put on the table. I don't think it is correct to say Doha was a failure. Progress was made, but there are other issues that need to be addressed.”


Q: Which ones?

A: We demand strong economic guarantees. If a Western company signs a contract with its Iranian counterpart, they must be guaranteed the project will go ahead and they will receive compensation.


Q: Is Italy one of the countries through which you communicate with the United States?

A: I spoke with Minister Di Maio about the nuclear issue: we will take into consideration his ideas at the negotiations. In addition to meeting here in Rome, we have met twice in the last 10 months to discuss various problems, including the agreement. We have just had a new exchange of ideas: we welcome the potential and capabilities of the Italian Foreign Ministry in the nuclear negotiations, just as we welcome any idea that can induce the United States to take a realistic position, and thus, to allow us to reach a good, solid and lasting agreement.


Q: The US refuse(s) to remove the Guardians of the Revolution (IRGC) from the list of terrorist organizations; is this an obstacle to reaching an agreement?

A: We suggested to the US they could delay the issue of the list. But we have to make sure that at least the Iranian companies whose contribution is necessary for the country to enjoy the benefits of the agreement are taken off the list. We are not asking for anything beyond the nuclear agreement.


Q: Let's talk about US President Joe Biden's trip to the Middle East: Iran will be at the center of the talks. What do you expect? And what do you hope for?

A: In recent months we have had positive talks with Saudi Arabia. Respect for our neighbors is one of our foreign policy priorities. We have been told Biden’s visit is about food and energy security. The Israeli regime would like it to be an opportunity to promote security issues and use it against Iran. We hope that the American side will ensure it does not turn into an unconstructive visit, in opposition to the stated desire to reach a conclusion at the nuclear negotiations.


Q: The IAEA denounced the fact you switched off cameras used to monitor your nuclear program. Would you be prepared to turn them back on to reopen a dialogue with the West?

A: We did not turn off the cameras. We had them taken off the circuit. Iran had voluntarily installed the cameras to monitor these areas and has taken them away as a response to an unfair resolution sought by the US and three European countries within the IAEA to put pressure on us during the negotiations. Whenever the negotiations will come to some result we will put the cameras back in the loop. Iran is determined in its efforts to reach a serious and lasting agreement on the nuclear issue.

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