TEHRAN -- Iran’s foreign
minister said Monday the upcoming talks must lead to full normalization of the Islamic Republic’s trade relations with the rest of the world under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Hussein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a phone call with his British counterpart, Elizabeth Mary Truss, during which the Iranian side noted that the lion’s share of trade agreements between the two countries has not entered into effect after the conclusion of the JCPOA.
“London needs to take more steps in order to boost trade volume and facilitate financial transactions between the two countries,” Iran’s top diplomat said.
“Normalization of trade relations with Iran was one of the commitments that the opposite side in the JCPOA has undertaken and this issue should be fully realized during the Vienna talks,” he added.
He blamed the U.S. for a stalemate in the Vienna negotiations, emphasizing that irresponsibility and silence of “certain sides” have intensified the situation.
Amir-Abdollahian said the upcoming Vienna talks would prove successful if all sanctions against Iran were removed, all sides resumed compliance with their commitments, necessary assurances were offered about the implementation of the negotiations’ outcomes and the opposite sides’ measures were verified.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump nixed the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia -- have held six rounds of talks in Vienna since April, which began after the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden voiced willingness to rejoin the agreement. The talks were, however, put on hold in the run-up to Iran’s presidential election in June so that the Islamic Republic could go through a period of government transition.
Elsewhere in his phone conversation, Amir-Abdollahian pointed to Britain’s long-overdue debt to Iran, saying that the Iranian nation was entitled to claim the money and stressed the need for London to take immediate action to pay it off as soon as possible.
Britain owes as much as £400m to Iran arising from the non-delivery of Chieftain tanks ordered by Iran’s former monarchical regime. An international arbitration in 2008 ruled the UK owed the debt.
The British foreign secretary, for her part, hailed setting the date for the upcoming JCPOA Joint
Commission meeting and said the three European signatories to the deal are determined to achieve progress in the talks.
In a post on his Twitter account later on Monday, the top Iranian diplomat said he held a “useful” phone call with his British counterpart.
Amir-Abdollahian added that the two sides discussed bilateral relations, including consular issues and regional topics, noting that he urged the UK’s “repayment of long overdue” debt to Iran.
“On Vienna talks, reiterated return by other parties to full impl. of obligations; lifting of all sanctions & verification; & guarantees,” his tweet further said.