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Iran’s Top Diplomat Calls Trump’s Tehran Policy ‘Failure’

By Ilham Karimli January 29, 2021

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In early January, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) officially announced that it had resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent purity at Fordo facility, a level not seen since 2015. / AP

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recalled former US President Donald Trump’s policy and pressures against Iran in his Thursday’s address to newly-appointed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Reality check for @SecBlinken: The US violated JCPOA, blocked food/medicine to Iranians, punished adherence to UNSCR 2231. Throughout that sordid mess, Iran abided by JCPOA, only took foreseen remedial measures. Now, who should take first step? Never forget Trump’s maximum failure,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page on January 28.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA was signed by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in 2015. The document was negotiated under former US President Barack Obama and committed Tehran to restrict its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Zarif’s tweet comes as a response to Blinken’s recent remarks in which the US official said that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing.

The United States may rejoin the Iran nuclear deal only after Tehran will limit uranium enrichment to less than 4 percent. In early January, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) officially announced that it had resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent purity at Fordo facility, a level not seen since 2015. The enrichment process was launched on January 4 as part of Iran’s Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which was approved by the country’s parliament in December 2020.

The resumption of uranium enrichment is a part of Iran’s moves to scale back its compliance with the JCPOA. It comes as a response to US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018. As additional sanctions were imposed on Iran, Tehran continued stepping away from the nuclear pact.

On January 26, Zarif wrote in his Twitter account “why on earth should Iran — a country that stood firm and defeated 4 years of a brutal US economic terrorism imposed in violation of JCPOA and UNSC Resolution — show goodwill gesture first? It was the US that broke the deal — for no reason. It must remedy its wrong; then Iran will respond.”

The Iranian oil and banking industries have been seriously damaged by sanctions imposed by the United States and the government in Iran has already expressed its readiness to go back to the negotiating table — but only if Washington would deliver its commitments. 

On January 27, Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi urged the new US administration to meet its JCPOA obligations and remove sanctions in short order.

“The United States must immediately adhere to its commitments in the nuclear agreement, which was enshrined in international law in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231,” Takht-Ravanchi wrote in his article published on New York Times. 

“By doing so, the Biden administration will put the country back into compliance. The new administration should also swiftly remove the new sanctions that the Trump administration placed on Iran. This will indicate the new government’s commitment to rebuilding the United States’ shattered global credibility,” he added.