Smelling Weakness? Iran Demands Biden Pay Up to Re-enter Nuclear Deal

Smelling Weakness? Iran Demands Biden Pay Up to Re-enter Nuclear Deal

Iranian Expediency Council member Mohammad-Javad Larijani said on Monday that with regard to Iran, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s policy would likely not differ from that of Trump, and set out a list of conditions for allowing the United States back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement.

Larijani, who also serves as an adviser to the head of Iran’s judiciary, told Iran’s Ofogh TV, “We want to see if the [Americans’] policies are meant to [enable] them to milk Iran. This is a very important question. We want to understand what policy they will adopt towards us. It doesn’t matter what they say. It is apparent that they are the same in this regard, though there are differences between them in many regards.”

Asked what steps the United States would need to take to prove its commitment to the JCPOA, which Trump exited unilaterally in 2018 and Biden is expected to seek to rejoin, albeit with modifications, Larijani said, “The sanctions must be lifted, especially the secondary ones.”

“The Americans need to [re-enter] the JCPOA without preconditions, to fulfill their obligations, and to compensate us for the damages they have caused us,” he added.

Otherwise, he said, Iran should take a “zero commitment” approach to negotiations.

Larijani explained that by this he meant that Iran “would completely suspend all our obligations”—not just relating to the JCPOA but also to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“We would suspend—not leave—the NPT, the Additional Protocol and all our JCPOA obligations. The inspection that exists today, both in-person inspection and inspection through cameras, would also be suspended. We would not cancel these, just suspend them. This is what I mean by zero commitment—once we do that, we would [be willing] to negotiate, about anything they want,” he said.

The Islamic Republic had not gained from the negotiations surrounding its nuclear program, said Larijani, but had learned “very important” lessons from them.

“It turns out that if we want to negotiate with any party, we must be very precise. We must have a benchmark for our national interests, and we must insure that our interests are protected. It turns out we cannot rely on words and promises. We must speak very precisely. We must lock in our agreement instead of [implementing] a snapback mechanism, which acts against us,” he said.

This article was originally published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

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