Russian Envoy After Meeting U.S. Delegation:
VIENNA (Dispatches) -- Russia’s Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov says the U.S. would not remove all the sanctions it has imposed on the Islamic Republic under different tags.
Washington does not consider sanctions imposed under labels such as terrorism, missile development and human rights violations as restrictions that could be removed, Ulyanov told Sputnik news agency on Thursday.
"No, the Americans do not consider exactly these sanctions as subject to lifting. They believe these sanctions have nothing to do with the JCPOA,” he said, using an acronym of the nuclear agreement Iran signed in 2015 with six world powers.
He made the announcement after members of the Russian and U.S. delegations held a working meeting as part of the negotiation process in Vienna.
His remarks also came a day after the Associated Press reported that the Biden administration was considering the removal of some of the most stringent sanctions imposed on Iran so that Tehran would go back on its remedial measures it has taken under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in response to the West’s breach of the deal.
Citing U.S. officials, the AP said Washington was open to removing any sanctions that are inconsistent with the nuclear pact or those that deny Iran the relief it would be entitled to under the deal.
The sanctions relief could include non-nuclear sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration with the aim of inhibiting a U.S. return to the JCPOA, the AP added.
Some U.S. analysts have called the so-called terrorism sanctions as part of Trump’s ‘poison pill’, which would remove key Iranian entities from the scope of any sanctions relief.
Former Obama advisor, Vali Nasr, called ‘poison pill’ a "major issue”, which has hampered the Vienna talks between Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.
Nasr said as a ‘poison pill’, Trump multi-designated the sanctions in order to make it difficult for his successor to lift the Iran sanctions.
"Let’s say an Iranian ship would be designated under the nuclear deal for not selling oil, but if you put the same ship under ‘terrorism’ designation that’s not as easy to lift the sanctions,” the former senior U.S. State Department official noted.
"And Congress may make a hue and cry, saying this is not nuclear, this is about terrorism.”
A former adviser to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) also said the Trump administration imposed numerous sanctions on Iran, using U.S. counterterrorism authorities "that were clearly intended to make it harder for a successor U.S. administration to rejoin the nuclear deal.”
"The continued application of the ‘terrorism-related sanctions’ would remove key Iranian entities from the scope of sanctions relief agreed under the nuclear deal originally,” Brian O’Toole said.
In an interview with France’s Le Monde daily, published on Friday,
Ulyanov renewed the call for the United States to take the first step since it was the Americans that created problems by their departure.
Ulyanov criticized Washington for freezing Iranian assets abroad as an "unlawful measure,” saying it is time for the Biden administration to free Iran’s assets blocked in South Korea and Japan as a "good will” gesture.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday hoped that "everything related to the JCPOA will be restored to its initial state and we will be able to build relations with all participants of the Caspian club and implement all our plans, including those in the Caspian region.”
Addressing a UN Security Council session via a video link, Putin said the revival of the nuclear deal would help Moscow broaden its relations with Iran among the other Caspian Sea littoral countries.
Zionist Minister Threatens War
An Israeli minister on Thursday warned that the regime’s warplanes can reach Iran, reiterating the occupying regime’s position that it does not consider itself bound by the diplomacy pursued through the Vienna.
"Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term,” intelligence minister Eli Cohen said in a veiled reference to the Biden administration’s promise to re-enter the deal.
"Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East – and certainly Iran,” he said.
The Zionist regime has already threatened to attack Iran if the United States returns to the nuclear agreement.
However, observers believe that most of such threats are mere bluffs and that Israel will never have the military might or courage to attack Iran without U.S. support.
"A bad deal will send the region spiraling into war,” Cohen claimed, echoing the occupying regime’s stance on the JCPOA.
Since Biden’s victory, the occupying regime has been involved in acts of sabotage and assassination in Iran.
In November, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated. Earlier this month, nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz was targeted in an act of sabotage. Both incidents, among many others, have been blamed on the regime in Tel Aviv.
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Mossad head Joseph Cohen and Zionist ambassador to Washington Gilad Erdan.
It came after a meeting this week between U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart. At that meeting the Zionist delegation stressed their "freedom to operate” against Iran as they see fit, Reuters reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.