MP: Iran has other options if JCPOA is not revived

“But,” Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini said, “if the Western side does not agree (with Iran’s response in order to reach an agreement), we have other options on the table, and Iran’s hands are not empty in this regard.”

In an interview with IRNA published Sunday, the MP stated that any international agreement without the necessary guarantees is “worthless” Considering the past experience, he said, the Westerners have proven that they don’t fulfill their commitments.

When the Trump administration quit the JCPOA in May 2018, the European signatories to the deal also refused to honor their commitments.

“That’s why the Islamic Republic is looking for obtaining guarantees for reaching an agreement; of course, (Parliament) representatives are also sensitive to the need to obtain guarantees, and in principle, an agreement should not be signed without obtaining guarantees,” the legislator stated.

The parliamentarian went on to note that any agreement that restricts and deprives Iran of its rights will not be accepted by the Iranian people.

He added, “The Islamic Republic is in a position of authority, so the foreign ministry can act with more power regarding diplomacy.”

‘Political cohesion, overcoming sanctions forced U.S. to retreat’

Elsewhere in the interview, the legislator stated that the political cohesion at home coupled with successfully leaving behind severe sanctions finally forced the United States to back down from its excessive demands.

Regarding the President Ebrahim Raisi administration’s approach in the negotiation process and confronting the excessive demands by the West, Meshkini said, “Iran’s winning cards in this round of negotiations helped the negotiating team to work with more authority to preserve Iran’s national interests. Political cohesion in the country, intelligent leadership and overcoming the sanctions conditions created a situation in the international arena and the negotiation stage, which forced America to withdraw from its excessive demands.”

By enduring hardships to preserve national honor and relying on internal capacities, Iran managed to lessen the effects of sanctions through self-sufficiency, the MP remarked.

Abbaszadeh Meshkini assessed a win-win agreement as important for securing Iran’s national interests, adding that Tehran negotiates with this logic.

“Of course, Westerners need these talks more than Iran. We are trying with all our strength to conclude the negotiations according to our desired objectives, but if the Western side does not agree, we have other options on the table, and Iran’s hands are not empty in this regard,” the MP noted.

‘Agreement should be crafted in a way that Iran’s hand would be on the trigger’

Iran has been saying that closing Safeguards questions by International Atomic Energy Agency is important to revive the JCPOA.

Iran has been insisting that questions raised by the IAEA about Iran’s past nuclear program are politically motivated. Iran’s nuclear chief, Mohammed Eslami, has said Iran had provided answers to such unsubstantiated questions in the past that produced the nuclear deal in 2015.

Iran sees Israel as the chief culprit for raising such questions by the IAEA.

“This could be an epilogue and can repair the damaged wall of trust between Iran and the West,” Abbaszadeh Meshkini remarked.

‘Relations with West is not the only way for prosperity’

Elsewhere in the interview, the legislator said that in the current global order, everything is interdependent, but through tact and intelligence, problems can be solved.

“There is no one way to move forward, and relations with the West is not the only way to move forward. In some cases, talking to the West is an obstacle to progress,” he stated.

People are the greatest asset for development, Meshkini opined, noting that the capacity of the people must be brought to fruition.

“Relying on the people is more valuable and effective than oil wells, JCPOA, and talking to the West. I hope the government will advance the negotiation process with tact and intelligence, as well as relying on internal capacities so that no power can stand against the Iranian nation,” he concluded.

After a weeklong evaluation of the U.S. response to an earlier Iranian view on draft nuclear text described as “final” by the European Union to revive the JCPOA, Tehran submitted its responses to Washington via the EU coordinator.

EU has been the coordinator of the talks to resurrect the JCPOA.

However, the U.S. provided an early assessment of the Iranian response this time around, describing it as “unconstructive,” a position that has been perceived in Tehran as lack of seriousness on the part of the U.S. to put the JCPOA on the right track.

On Friday at noon time Iran “submitted its views on America’s response to the draft of a possible agreement on the removal of sanctions,” according to the Foreign Ministry.

“After receiving the U.S. response, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s team of experts precisely reviewed it, and Iran’s responses were drafted and submitted to the coordinator on Thursday night following evaluations at different levels,” spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nasser Kanaani said in a statement.

The U.S. didn’t wait long to voice its pessimism. Immediately after receiving the Iranian response, a U.S. official said the response was not constructive.

After submitting Iran’s views, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian spoke with his Omani counterpart, Badr al-Busaidi, about the Iranian response to the U.S.

Oman has long acted as a courier between Iran and the U.S. and it’s unclear if the Iranian foreign minister asked the Omani foreign minister to relay a message from Iran to the U.S.

In the call, the Iranian foreign minister underlined Iran’s will to reach a “good, lasting, and strong deal,” according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry. “During the process of drafting the response of the Islamic Republic of Iran, acceleration and facilitation of concluding the talks were taken into account,” Amir Abdollahian said.

The details of the Iranian response are still unknown but Iranian media said Iran is unlikely to budge on its demand that the IAEA close its probe into Iran’s past nuclear activity. Nour News, a website linked to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, underlined the need for strong guarantees and the closure of safeguards issues.

“A deal lacking strong guarantees and failing to end politically motivated safeguards allegations will certainly not be a lasting and reliable one. Therefore, there is no reason for Tehran to join it,” Nour News said.

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