Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said that the US should lift all anti-Iran sanctions first if it is willing to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“If the US seeks to return to the JCPOA, it should first lift the sanctions imposed on Iran,” Velayati said, adding, “Whether the US rejoins the Nuclear Deal is not significant and the Islamic Republic does not insist on this matter.”
He noted that the US and Europe are responsible for lifting the sanctions.
The official referred to Iran’s reduction of JCPOA commitments, stressing that the country needs to enrich uranium up to 20 percent for scientific and medical purposes.
Velayati underlined that Iran as a member of NPT has the right to enjoy the peaceful benefits of the nuclear industry, noting, “Sooner or later, fossil fuels will finish, and the Islamic Republic needs to use the nuclear capacity to generate electricity to advance its industrial and scientific work.”
He also emphasized that Iran wants to be self-sufficient in the field of nuclear energy and does not want to be dependent on other countries especially those who are constantly breaching their relevant commitments.
In relevant remarks on Friday, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said that the US must first lift all sanctions against Iran if it wants to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, stressing that the West is duty-bound to lift all wicked sanctions immediately.
“The United States should remove all sanctions prior to returning to the JCPOA,” the Supreme Leader said, adding that the US’ return to the nuclear deal before lifting of the sanctions will be to Iran’s detriment.
Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a live televised speech on the occasion of the January 9, 1978 uprising of the people of Qom which sparked the nationwide uprisings and the Islamic Revolution resulting in the overthrow of the dictatorial monarchy of the Pahlavi regime and establishment of the Islamic Republic in the country.
“The people’s movement on January 9  was the first blow of the ‘Abrahamic Axe’ on the body of the ‘Big Idol’,” he said, adding, “This movement continued so that you can see the situation of the Big Idol [The US] now. This is their election system. This is their human rights condition, every few hours or days, a black man is killed with no guilt. These are the American values that have become the source of ridicule and this is their paralyzed economy with missions of jobless and hungry people.”
“The Western front is duty-bound to end this malicious move, namely the sanctions, and stop it instantly,” the Supreme Leader stressed, adding, “Yet, we should design the economy in a way that we would administer the country even with the sanctions.”
Ayatollah Khamenei made it clear that the sanctions are gradually becoming ineffective.
“As for our regional presence, our establishment has the duty to behave in a way that its friends are strengthened in the region,” he said, and added, “Our presence is a source of stability, and this has been proved in the issue of ISIL and the like, while the US is a source of instability and Iran is standing against the US destabilizing moves.”
“Today, our defense power is in a way that our enemies have no choice but to consider Iran’s abilities in their calculations,” Ayatollah Khamenei went on to say, noting, “We should not leave the country defenseless as it emboldens the enemy.”
Elaborating on the JCPOA, the Supreme Leader said that Iran’s obligations should be completely proportionate to the measures of the US and Europe which have not fulfilled any of their commitments.
Iran signed the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia, and China — in 2015.
Outgoing US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its "so-called maximum pressure policy" has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.
In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA -- Britain, France and Germany -- to protect its business interests under the deal after the United States' withdrawal.
On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.
Meantime, US President-elect Joe Biden has recently said in a CNN article that he wants a renegotiation of the contents of the deal before he agrees to rejoin the agreement.
“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” he wrote, mentioning that he wants changes to the contents of the nuclear deal and guarantees from Tehran that it would be open for compromise to strike multiple deals over its missile and regional powers as well as a number of other issues that have been the bones of contention between the two sides in the last four decades.
In response, Zarif had stressed that the US has violated the nuclear deal and is in no position to ask for any conditions for its return to the JCPOA, adding that it's Tehran that has its own terms to allow the US back into the internationally endorsed agreement.
The foreign minister has reiterated time and again that Tehran would not change even a single word of the agreement, and cautioned the US that it needs to pay reparations for the damage it has inflicted on Iran through its retreat from the nuclear agreement and give enough insurances that it would not go for initiating the trigger mechanism again before it could get back to the deal.