Iranian official 'hopeful' of US return to nuclear deal, cites Qatari and European mediation

Iranian official 'hopeful' of US return to nuclear deal, cites Qatari and European mediation
Fada Hossein al-Maliki reveals that Qatari and European contacts are working to restore the nuclear deal between Tehran and Washington
3 min read
20 February, 2021
Tehran hopes to revive diplomacy with Washington over the nuclear deal [Getty]
An Iranian parliamentarian has called the US steps towards reviving the nuclear deal "positive, but not enough", stressing that "America must return to fulfilling its full commitments" within the agreement.

Fada Hossein al-Maliki, a member of Iran's National Security Commission told The New Arab’s Arabic language service his country "will build on the administration's work with its obligations and will then decide on the basis of its national interests what needs to be done".

He also revealed "Qatari and European contacts" working with the US and Iran to reimplement the nuclear deal.

Joe Biden's administration has taken steps to push for a breakthrough in the diplomatic crisis and return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China (also known as the P5+1) brokered, easing some international sanctions on Iran in return for restrictions on its uranium enrichment.

Donald Trump’s administration ended the agreement in May 2018 after reimposing sanctions on Tehran.

The Biden administration announced on Thursday its desire to re-join the nuclear agreement, and also reversed Trump's claims of new UN sanctions. There were also reports that Biden intended to announce his wishes to return to the nuclear deal with Iran at the Munich Security Conference on Friday.

However, Maliki said that Washington’s measures are not enough, and that Tehran will only reciprocate diplomacy when all sanctions are fully lifted.

He said that Tehran fulfilled all its commitments after the nuclear deal entered into force in January 2016 "but Trump ended US commitments and withdrew from the nuclear agreement" in 2018.

"In recent years, Europe has not been able to push America to implement its commitments," said Maliki, adding that "the Islamic Republic can no longer bear more than implementing the nuclear deal unilaterally".

"Biden is at a crossroads," the Iranian parliamentarian said, "either he continues Trump's approach and his failed policy that has led the region and the world to a devastating war, or he decides to return to the pledges of the nuclear deal, while he has a chance to revive it."

Maliki stressed that "the Islamic republic will not accept to negotiate the nuclear deal again," and that its original terms must be upheld.

He also revealed "Qatari and European contacts" with Iran and the United States to resolve the crisis of the implementation of the nuclear deal, referring to China's proposal to hold a meeting to discuss Washington's return to the nuclear deal.

"We look optimistically for Qatari contacts and China's proposal and Russia's welcoming of it," he said, calling on Washington to respond to these moves "to prevent the region from facing new tensions and challenges".

On whether Tehran had received an "offer" from Washington through the recent diplomatic movement, he said it had "not received an official offer."

The White House said on Friday it plans to take no further actions in response to pressure from Iran before talks with Tehran and major powers about returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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