Iran: No point in holding talks with Trump on new nuclear deal
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Iran: No point in holding talks with Trump on new nuclear deal

Foreign Minister Zarif says Washington would have to provide guarantees that it won’t renege on future accord for negotiations to be held

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left,  meets with his British counterpart (not seen) in the capital Tehran on November 19, 2018. (ATTA KENARE/AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, meets with his British counterpart (not seen) in the capital Tehran on November 19, 2018. (ATTA KENARE/AFP)

ROME, Italy — Iran sees no point in fresh nuclear talks with the US without guarantees it will not renege on any deal made, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May, branding the deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear work a “disaster.”

Iran says it will continue to stick to the terms of the deal, and European nations also continue to support it and engage with Iran.

But Zarif said that without guarantees, Trump’s US could not be trusted for any further talks.

“If we are to make an agreement with the United States, what is the guarantee that the agreement will last after the flight? You remember Canada?” he said, referring to Trump’s withdrawal of his signature from a G7 summit closing statement in June after his plane left host Canada.

“How are we to be confident that the signature stays on the paper?” Zarif told the MED Dialogues conference in Rome.

Sweeping new American sanctions against Iran, which came into effect on November 5, have raised fears about whether the deal can survive.

Iran has said the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action would be called into question if it no longer received the economic benefits of the deal.

The deal envisaged sanctions on Iran being lifted in return for it accepting International Atomic Energy Agency inspections and limits on its nuclear activities.

“We spent two-and-a-half years, this is not a two-page document, this is not a picture opportunity. This is a 150-page document,” Zarif said of the deal, suggesting that Trump’s objection was based on his “hatred” for former president Barack Obama.

“Why should we resume another talk just because somebody doesn’t like it, just because somebody hates his predecessor? That’s not the reason you engage in diplomacy, diplomacy is a serious game and we are ready for a serious game.”

The remaining five signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — have backed an EU effort to set up a special payment system in an attempt to continue trade and business ties with Iran.

However, some European companies have already pulled out of Iran. Earlier this month senior EU officials admitted that the mechanism was proving difficult to set up.

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