Speaking in an exclusive interview with Press TV, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman has said the Islamic Republic is prepared to return to full implementation of its nuclear agreement with world countries, but is wary of how the next US administration will act.
“Iran is definitely ready if the other side is ready to get back to full implementation of the JCPOA,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday, attending the Iranian international news network’s studio in Tehran.
He was referring by abbreviation to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the historic 2015 nuclear deal that came about between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries, the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany.
The administration of the now-outgoing US President Donald Trump left the deal in 2018 under its trademark policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran.
Washington then reinstated the sanctions that it had lifted once it became a JCPOA member, and also started to cow others into committing to the bans and stopping their trade with Tehran.
The Islamic Republic, however, adopted antithetical economic measures under a directive by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei of “Resistive Economy,” and also started to take nuclear countermeasures to retaliate against the US and others’ non-commitment to the JCPOA.
Iran’s combined retaliation has now prompted many world officials, media outlets, and observers to outspokenly identify the American campaign as an abortive one. Khatibzadeh, in turn, said the push had evolved into “maximum failure” for Washington.
Is Iran going to ‘trust’ US?
Asked if Iran would “trust” the US if President-elect Joe Biden was to take over the White House, the spokesman said the US had shown everyone that it was not trustworthy.
“The issue is not trust. Actually, the nuclear agreement was negotiated based on mutual mistrust. So, this matters most. And we’re just looking at the behavior of who is going to run the White House,” he said, and noted that it was too soon to tell what was going to happen in the future.
‘Wall of sanctions mere psywar’
The Iranian official, meanwhile, addressed the lame-duck US administration’s claim that it was going to build a “wall of sanctions” that, some officials have said, no US administration would be able to break down to return to the JCPOA and lift the economic restrictions.
“In their own words…‘there’s nothing left to be sanctioned,’” Khatibzadeh said, citing US officials’ admissions concerning the extent of Washington’s sanctioning spree against Iran.
“These are part of psychological war against Iranians,” he said, adding, “There’s nothing more they can do other than to continue this psychological warfare against the Iranian nation.”
The official said the outgoing US officials were making such claims out of frustration and in order to convince the world that their maximum pressure policy was still alive.
“Everybody knows to what extent they’ve not been able to reach any goals of their policy.”
‘US used to weaponizing media’
Separately, Khatibzadeh addressed recent claims that one of the top leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist group had been secretly killed by Washington-directed Israeli agents in Tehran.
He called the allegations “unsubstantiated,” saying the US was very much used to “weaponizing” the media to advance its political ill will and agenda.
“They know better who has founded, who has established, who is recruiting for al-Qaeda right now,” he noted.
Also, the official addressed the settlement that was reached recently with Russia’s mediation between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
He referred to an initiative that Iran has advanced towards resolution of the roughly-three-decade-old conflict.
The spokesman said the ceasefire that has been agreed enjoyed “large overlaps” with Iran’s proposal, and said Tehran always welcomed any bid towards solving the dispute.
He, however, categorically rejected claims that Iran or any other country’s territorial borders, for that matter, were to be “changed” under a conflict settlement process between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
“Neither Iran’s border nor the region’s borders will be changed,” he said, reminding how Tehran has invariably urged all the parties concerned in the conflict to attach respect for sovereign borders.