Negotiating under maximum pressure tantamount to surrender: Araghchi

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (MNA) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi rejected any possibility of holding negotiations with the United States while Iran is under unjust and illegal sanctions.

Speaking to Chinese news channel CGTN about the future of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) in the wake of US withdrawal and maximum pressure policy on Tehran, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said his country is still trying to rescue the deal.

"The message is that we want to save the deal. The purpose is not to kill the deal. Otherwise, we could have withdrawn from the deal right after the US withdrew on May 8, 2018, and nobody would have blamed us because that was in reaction to what the US has done," said Araghchi. "But we decided to give diplomacy a chance to save the deal. And now,... we are exercising our right in paragraph 36 of the deal. So, we are still in the deal and are trying to take remedial measures in order to save the deal."

He said, "No deal can survive if there is not a balance between gives and takes. And we have no balance in the deal right now. Iran is fully committed to its obligations up to May this year. But we received nothing. So, what Iran is doing is still trying to restore the balance in the deal, which hasn't happened yet."

Asked about how a change in the US Middle East policy would influence Iran's regional strategies, given a possible impeachment of Trump or the presidential election in 2020, Araghchi asserts that Iran would not bow to pressure. Negotiating under maximum pressure is tantamount to surrender, Araghchi said. So, for the Iranian government, at this moment, negotiation with the United States would be out of the political equation. 

Araghchi added that Iran would not shape its own policy based on what's happening in the United States. "We are not counting on who is the US president and who is not. We have a very basic principle and strategy. And we are following it very carefully. We don't think the change of president in the United States would change anything in relation to Iran unless somebody comes to power who can fulfill the commitments they have already made and unless they will return to the JCPOA. So, we can, again, talk with them in the JCPOA format. That is the only possibility," Araghchi said.

Asked about his opinion about the timing of China's Middle East Security Forum and the country's role in the Middle East, Araghchi said "I think the timing (of the forum) is good, even late. But better late than never."

"China is a major international player. We believe that, like Russia, China also can play a very constructive role in problems that exist in the Middle East and other regions," he said.

"We have a very good experience of working with China for coming to a conclusion on Iran's nuclear program. China was part of JCPOA and is still an important participant to the JCPOA. We appreciate China's position to protect and save the deal. So, China already played its role in the JCPOA, which was a very important question in the Middle East."


News Code 153474


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