Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the new US administration faces two options regarding the relationship with Iran, recalling what his country considers requirements to salvage the nuclear deal, which is the “unconditional” lifting of the sanctions it targets and not seeking to “extract concessions” from it.
Just two days after Joe Biden took office, Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif published an article in the US magazine “Foreign Affairs” about his country’s view of how to save the agreement, which has become a threat since the United States unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018.
The Iranian minister warned that the time is pressing, stressing that the Biden administration either adopts what he described as Trump’s failed policies after his withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, or get rid of these policies by stopping the policy of maximum pressure and returning to the agreement.
Zarif made it clear that if Washington did so, Tehran would return to fully implement its obligations under the agreement.
Agreement and threats
Tehran and 6 major countries (China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany) reached a comprehensive joint action plan in Vienna in 2015 to settle the Iranian nuclear issue after 12 years of tension.
The agreement included Iran easing the international sanctions imposed on it in exchange for significantly reducing its nuclear program and providing guarantees that it did not intend to develop a nuclear bomb.
Tehran has long denied its desire to develop a similar bomb.
The agreement has become a threat since the United States unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 under the Donald Trump administration, and then reimposed harsh sanctions on Tehran.
The return of sanctions has caused economic stagnation in Iran, which since 2019 has gradually abandoned most of its commitments made in Vienna.
Joe Biden considered that his predecessor’s policy towards Iran was a failure, and expressed his intention to return his country to the agreement, but stipulated that Iran return to its obligations, at a time when the latter calls for the United States to first lift all sanctions targeting it and respect all its commitments.
Save the deal
“The new US government can still salvage the agreement, but this will only happen if it is able to provide real political will in Washington that allows to show that the United States is ready to be a reliable partner in a collective endeavor,” Zarif said in his article.
“The (Biden) government should start with the unconditional lifting of all imposed sanctions that have been re-imposed since Trump came to power,” he said, warning of Biden’s attempt to “extract concessions” from Iran.
The Iranian foreign minister thus restored the position of his country, which says it is ready to return to its obligations, in the event that sanctions are lifted and it benefits from the economic benefits stipulated in the agreement between it and the major international powers.
Zarif had said earlier that his country’s hand is still extended to the Gulf states, and that the stability of the region is in everyone’s interest.
Zarif called on the Gulf states to dialogue, noting that former US President Donald Trump is gone while Iran and its Gulf neighbors stayed.
He added that it has become established for some Gulf countries that the identification with Trump has delayed their policy for a period of 4 years, as he put it.
Attitude and endeavors
For its part, the White House announced that Jake Sullivan Yesterday, the US President’s National Security Adviser held contacts with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, advisers to the French President, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, during which he confirmed the Biden administration’s willingness to work closely with European allies on a set of shared priorities, including issues related to China, Iran and Russia.
In a related context, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that he would not allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bypass him in security relations with the new US administration, especially with regard to the Iranian issue.
Gantz said that since he was a military attaché in Washington, he has close and close relations with the officials of the new US administration, and that he is confident that he will find listening ears to the Biden administration on issues important to Israel.
He indicated that the follow-up of Iranian affairs would remain under his supervision in his capacity as Minister of Defense.