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Iran: We will negotiate on nuclear deal until sanctions are removed

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says they are ready to negotiate, but other officials are signaling that Iran must prepare for no deal with the US.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the ongoing nuclear negotiations to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action today.

In a video message, Amir-Abdollahian said, “To remove the sanctions, Iran will pursue negotiations while by abiding by its red lines.” He added that Iran will “not leave the negotiations and sees logical and honorable negotiations to reach a deal as right.”

Amir-Abdollahian continued, “The American side has repeatedly stated that due to domestic problems it is not able to accept and be committed to the what has been discussed in the negotiations.” He added, “Iran has been the most committed to the agreement and welcomes a good, strong and durable agreement and to reach an agreement to remove sanctions we will move in the direction of negotiations.”     

The US exited the agreement in 2018 and reapplied US sanctions, which Europe abided by. The sanctions limits Iran’s ability to sell its oil and conduct banking transactions. In return, Iran incrementally increased its nuclear program, increasing its enrichment of uranium from under 5% to 60%, and shut off cameras belonging to the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

Iran and the US are currently at a stalemate because Iran wants guarantees that the US will not leave the deal again when a Republican is president. That cannot be guaranteed without Congressional approval, which the current administration is very unlikely to get. Iran also wants the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps removed from the United States' list of foreign terrorist organizations, which President Joe Biden said that he is not willing to do. President Donald Trump put the IRGC on the FTO list as a tactic to make it difficult for his successor to reenter the JCPOA. 

Iran. however. continues to signal that it is ready to negotiate. Nasser Kanani, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said of the last round of negotiations, “Despite what the Americans said … the Doha negotiations were good and left the path open.” He added, “Iran supports the negotiations with seriousness and good intentions. The US needs to make a political decision and implement its decision and pay the price for returning to the deal.”  

While Iran’s foreign ministry is signaling that they will continue to negotiate, other members of Iran’s political leadership are saying that Iran must prepare for an economy without sanctions relief. Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said there are two views of how to approach the negotiations. One is that Iran must submit and the other is that Iran must “resist and stand on its own feet.” He added, “Experience has shown that with resistance, relying on the people, and precise economic planning is the only path to save [us].”

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