DAVOS (Dispatches) -- Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said Thursday that the continued U.S. designation of its Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is not holding up stalled nuclear talks as much as disagreements over the removal of sanctions.
Speaking on stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the minister also hit out at U.S. President Joe Biden for keeping his predecessor’s hardline policies in place, stating that the occupying regime of Israel and its supporters are holding U.S. foreign policy “hostage”.
“The most important thing is that the economic sanctions need to be lifted in an effective way,” Amir-Abdollahian told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “The most important thing is that the maximum pressure policy of the Trump era — the factors, the elements there — need to be removed.”
The comments came days after Zionist PM Naftali Bennett said Biden had informed him that the U.S. would not take the IRGC off the U.S.’s list of foreign terror organizations.
“What has caused the cessation in the talks is [the issue of] economic guarantees,” Amir-Abdollahian said. “We have not come to the point where we can trust the American side. We have not seen that the behavior is different from Trump’s approach.”
The Biden administration claims it seeks to restore the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which former U.S. president Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018, instead implementing a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign which was welcomed by the occupying regime of Israel.
Talks have hit a standstill since April. The U.S. point man on Iran, Rob Malley, said Wednesday that chances for a deal were “tenuous”.
Amir-Abdollahian said talks were held up because “the Zionist regime” and “Zionist lobby” are in control of U.S. foreign policy decisions.
“If the American side decides realistically, then the deal is at hand, but this is something the Zionists don’t want to happen,” he said.
“We have intelligence that the Zionist regime, they have taken the foreign policy of the U.S. hostage,
the interest of the U.S. hostage,” the diplomat added. “I think if the Zionist lobby distances itself from the national interests of the U.S., just a little, Mr. Biden will be able to make the decision required for reaching a good deal.”
Amir-Abdollahian also said Iran has made “minimal but good progress” in relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that he may meet his Saudi counterpart soon in a third country.
“If Saudi Arabia is interested in bringing back its relations with Iran, we will welcome that,” he said.
The Iranian minister there is a possibility to hold a direct meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Iran and Saudi Arabia, he said, are two big influential countries in the region, adding Tehran did not completely sever its diplomatic relations with Riyadh.
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud stated on Tuesday that some progress had been made in the talks with Iran, but not in a manner that allows the relations to be back to normal. He added that Saudi Arabia is looking forward to re-establishing the relations with Tehran.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have already held five rounds of talks hosted by Iraq.