Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said yesterday that Tehran is committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) despite the U.S. claim that the deal is not functional anymore, adding that the country nevertheless may consider options if other countries in the agreement fail to find a solution for the sanctions "as promised."
"Iran's commitment is permanent, even though some of its provisions, including sanctions, are at risk. Our EU partners promised to find practical solutions in a few weeks when the U.S. withdrew from the agreement a year ago. However, after one year, no solution has been offered yet, and Iran's patience is running out," Araqchi said at an event organized by the Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE).
Last May, the U.S. withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany). Earlier this month, the White House also said that it will no longer exempt any countries from U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil, stepping up pressure on Iran in a move that primarily affects the five remaining major importers: China and India, and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey. The decision means sanctions waivers for these five nations won't be renewed when they expire on May 2.
Stressing that it is "unfortunate" that some countries in the region have been supporting the U.S.' maximum pressure policy on Iran, Araqchi said Tehran will never allow any country to replace it in the oil market.
U.S. President Donald Trump made the decision on not extending waivers as part of his administration's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran that aims to eliminate all of its revenue from oil exports that the U.S. says funds destabilizing activity throughout the Middle East and beyond. With this decision, no more sanctions waivers will be granted, choking off Iranian income that had been more than $50 billion a year.
Speaking on Turkish-Iranian relations, Araqchi said that despite some differences on certain issues, the two countries are closer to each other than any other time in the past.
"Iran and Turkey are two big players in the region that have very constructive cooperation base on mutual interests and we have very similar positions on regional issues," Araqchi said.
He also touched upon the Astana process, initiated by three guarantor countries, Turkey, Iran and Russia, to open a way for a permanent political solution in war-weary Syria, saying that the terrorist elements were defeated in most parts of Syria thanks to the cooperation of the Astana talk countries.
The first meeting of the Astana process was held in Turkey in January 2017 to bring all warring parties in the Syrian conflict to the table to facilitate U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva. The Astana talks support the establishment of the U.N.-backed constitutional committee in Syria as a part to find a political solution. The 12th Astana talks were held in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan on April 25-26.
Turkey, Iran hold political
consultations in Ankara
Political consultations between the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Iranian Foreign Ministry were held yesterday in Ankara.
The consultations were co-chaired by Sedat Önal, Turkey's deputy foreign minister and Araqchi, according to a statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Issues discussed at the meeting included bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues, the statement added.
The consultations were held in the wake of an April 17 visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Turkey. Zarif met with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as part of his official visit.
The talks also come amid a U.S. push to sanction countries that buy Iranian oil in defiance of Washington, which unilaterally walked away from the Iran nuclear deal.
Turkey and other countries have criticized t
he U.S. move, calling it counterproductive, adding that they are not bound by the U.S. decision to break the deal.