Iran says nuclear agreement can be reached if US sanctions lifted

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran wants guarantees sanctions will not be reimposed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian
An eighth round of talks over Iran's nuclear deal are under way in Vienna [File: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AP Photo]

Iran’s foreign minister has said an agreement can be reached with world powers over its nuclear deal if Western parties have the will and intention to do so.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said an agreement could be reached if all sanctions were lifted.

An eighth round of negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal is under way in Vienna, where Iran is still looking for guarantees that US sanctions will be lifted.

The talks over the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are taking place between Iran and world powers that are signatories to the deal. The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018, is participating in the talks indirectly.

The JCPOA provided sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. But after the US withdrawal, Iran abandoned some curbs and is now using advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium up to 60 percent.

Following its departure, the US reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

Tehran is now demanding the complete lifting of US sanctions, as well as guarantees that the US will not pull out of the accord again, and calling to be given a period of time to verify sanctions are effectively lifted.

“Lifting sanctions means lifting all forms of sanctions stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the sanctions that Trump reimposed contradict the terms of the agreement,” Amirabdollahian told Al Jazeera.

“We demand guarantees that include not imposing any new sanctions, and not reimposing sanctions after lifting them under any pretext,” he added.

The Iranian official said the most “practical model” for this would be when it comes to Iran exporting oil and obtaining revenues through the country’s own banking system.

“There’s an informal and an indirect exchange of message with the Americans in Vienna – we hear good words from that delegation, but what is important to us is to see practical and serious American actions,” he Amirabdollahian.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Vienna, said Amirabdollahian seemed “quite optimistic”.

“The technical issues and the logistical issues they had over the agenda has been resolved,” Jabbari said.

“The foreign minister was very specific about Iran’s position – he gave some very good examples of what they’re looking for,” she added.

Source: Al Jazeera