FOREIGN Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Iran is ready to resume talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal but the administration of US President Joe Biden is sending a ‘negative sign’ by keeping illegal sanctions on Tehran.
Amir-Abdollahian made the remark in an interview with NBC News on Thursday, saying Iran remains ready to restart the nuclear talks ‘very soon’ but the US administration is refusing to remove the sanctions and imposing new ones.
The top Iranian diplomat said Biden needed to back up his talk of diplomacy with concrete actions to show Iran that Washington is serious about restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.
They say, ‘We are ready to return to the fulfilment of our commitments.’ However, there is no action taken in order to show and prove the true will to the new Iranian administration, to the Iranian nation.
‘And worse than that, simultaneously, they have managed to put on new sanctions,’ Amir-Abdollahian told NBC News.
The Iranian foreign minister said it was up to the United States to demonstrate its seriousness about returning to the accord after former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the landmark deal three years ago.
‘In other words, President Biden was and is criticising the behaviour of his predecessor, Trump vis-à-vis Iran, but at the same time, the volume of the file of sanctions that Trump built against Iran is being carried carefully by Biden,’ he said.
Amir-Abdollahian asked NBC News that if the US was serious about pursuing negotiations, then why was it ‘piling up’ its coercive measures against Tehran. ‘This is a negative sign, signal to Iran,’ he added.
‘The reality of the matter is that for years, we have not obtained any benefits from the JCPOA,’ the foreign minister said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions as the nuclear accord is officially called.
He said the new Iranian government is currently evaluating the talks undertaken by the previous Iranian administration.
‘We are assessing and I can tell you that we have had many meetings and we will keep the window of diplomacy and negotiations open. And we will very soon return to the negotiations,’ Amir-Abdollahian stressed.
Iran’s foreign minister says the country will resume talks in Vienna aimed at resuscitating the JCPOA.
Iran and six world powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – agreed on the JCPOA in 2015. Three years later, the JCPOA was unilaterally abandoned by Washington under Trump and more sanctions were introduced as part of the so-called maximum pressure campaign, in spite of Tehran’s hitherto strict compliance with the multilateral accord.
The parties to the JCPOA began high-profile talks in Vienna earlier this year after the Biden administration voiced willingness to rejoin the deal and remove the draconian sanctions his predecessor slapped on the Islamic Republic.
Since the beginning of the Vienna talks, Tehran has argued that the US – as the first party that violated the JCPOA – needs to take the first step by returning to full compliance with the agreement. Tehran also says it will resume all of its nuclear commitments under the deal only after the US removes all the sanctions in practice.
Addressing a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and other suspected acts of sabotage blamed on Israel, Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is prepared to retaliate as needed to any attack on its national security.
‘If we obtain reliable proof beyond dispute, we will respond in kind, swiftly, and without any equivocation,’ he told NBC News.
Commenting on the assassination of Iran’s senior anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike January last year, Amir-Abdollahian said Iran did not consider the case closed.
‘From our viewpoint,’ he said, ‘the file so to speak will not be closed. Those who were the perpetrators and carried out that act of terrorism against a national hero and the champion of Iran in the fight against terrorism must be brought to justice.’
On January 3, 2020, the US military conducted an air operation under Trump’s order to assassinate General Soleimani at Baghdad airport after his arrival in Iraq. The attack also killed the general’s companions, including Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
As part of its retaliation, Iran launched a volley of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and another airbase in Erbil on January 8, 2020, as a result of which 110 US troops were diagnosed with ‘traumatic brain injuries’.
- The figures recorded in official UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) compensation logs for Afghanistan, obtained by a series of freedom of information requests, showed the youngest recorded civilian victim was three years old.
The three-year-old boy was killed in December 2009 by ‘shock from a controlled explosion’ during an operation to clear an improvised explosive device.
The information was compiled by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) charity group following the withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan last month.
In one of the most serious incidents, the charity group found in the records the award of only £4,233 to an Afghan family following the deaths of their four children who had been mistakenly ‘shot and killed’ in an incident in December 2009.
Moreover, some of the payments were reported to amount to less than a few hundred pounds, with one family receiving just £104 in February 2008 following a confirmed fatality and damage to their property in the southern Helmand Province.
Another family was compensated £586 for the death of their 10-year-old son in December 2009.
Thousands of emails sent to the UK Foreign Office mailbox by government ministers, MPs and charities, detailing emergency cases of Afghans trying to flee Kabul remain unread throughout the week.
Overall the compensation logs show £688,000 was paid out by the UK military for incidents involving 289 deaths between 2006 and 2013, the last year of British combat operations in the country, meaning the average compensation paid by the MoD per civilian killed was £2,380.
The charity group estimated that more than 20,000 civilians were killed or injured by US-led forces during the 20-year conflict in the war-ravaged country.
‘These files do not make for easy reading. The banality of language means hundreds of tragic deaths, including dozens of children, read more like an inventory,’ said Murray Jones, the author of the AOAV report.
‘Sadly, due to the way civilian casualties were recorded, these totals are likely to be just a fraction of the true number.’
Most of the deaths were reported to have occurred in Helmand, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting involving UK forces.
Britain says its civilian evacuation efforts have come to an end in Afghanistan.
The United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext that the Taliban militants were harbouring al-Qaeda. The invasion removed the Taliban from power but it worsened the security situation in the country.
The government of Afghanistan rapidly collapsed on August 15 and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country in the face of the lightning advances of the Taliban that followed US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops in a disastrous pullout.
The Taliban announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7th.