Written by by Staff Writer
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrive for their meeting, Sunday. AP
LONDON — Iran’s supreme leader Ahmadinejad accused foreign powers of breaking the terms of a nuclear deal he helped seal before he left office.
As the international community anxiously awaits the next phase of nuclear talks with Tehran, last year’s agreement is under scrutiny as the Iranian government expressed concerns Iran would have to renegotiate certain provisions as the talks move forward.
“Before the agreement, the matter was resolved and the multinational companies withdrew their money from Iranian banks, but all of a sudden now the multinationals are crying, ‘we are concerned that (we have) to renegotiate the agreement’,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.
“The biggest question now is what kind of form this agreement is taking, and they (the foreign powers) are not willing to obey Iranian decisions and their own security issues,” he said.
President Hassan Rouhani, the first Iranian president to sign an international nuclear deal in 2015, said Sunday that all sides had violated the terms of the accord. He also vowed a return to “simpler relations” between Iran and its neighbors.
On Wednesday, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, said that “given the deterioration in atmosphere (during recent talks in Vienna), negotiations might be transferred to Geneva, or should we not negotiate but continue to issue notices to Iran?”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to Vienna on Monday, March 19 to participate in the discussions. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, who officially abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal in May, will visit Brussels next week to attend a NATO summit.
Iran expert Navid Ghaznavi described Trump’s mission as a “last-ditch effort” for a bilateral deal with the US. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for him to approach Europe with Iran,” Ghaznavi said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has previously accused European countries of being responsible for the collapse of the deal. He has blasted the “rot” in the unity of the deal’s participants, which he described as a “threat to international peace and security.”
“Those with their eyes closed consider Europe a quisling and traitor. They regard their duty towards the Iranian nation and the international community as ‘something to be done in Vienna’,” Zarif said.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been Iran’s envoy in talks since the 2015 deal went into effect.
But she said this week that the “challenge” of reaching a new deal has become “the main thing” that the EU needs to focus on.
“I think we need to find ways to engage with Iran, with Iran and with the deal in order to make it possible for Iran to have the opportunity to implement it,” Mogherini said, adding that “we are still being very flexible in the sense that we are open to … ways in which a new deal is possible.”
The US last month began adding new unilateral sanctions to its list of Iranian-linked companies and individuals, which Iranian officials say are not allowed under the deal. In a tweet, Trump accused Iran of “wasting money they shouldn’t be spending on terrorism and weapons” when instead it should “be spending it on its people.”
The US also wants Iran to curb its ballistic missile program and its military ties with Pakistan and Syria.
European diplomats have voiced displeasure about Trump’s policy in the past, saying the US has made the process of negotiations “very difficult.”
Nonetheless, a European diplomat on the condition of anonymity told CNN: “We are not going to give up on this deal.”
“We need to get Iran back to the table. We need to have a new round of talks. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not an easy path, it’s a difficult path,” the diplomat said.
“We will not give up on this deal … The issue now is finding a way for it to go forward.”
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