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Iran said to lay out 7 preconditions to US for renewal of nuclear deal

Source in Rouhani’s office tells Kuwaiti paper that conditions for restarting negotiations include no participation by Gulf nations in the pact

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to a meeting in Tehran, Iran, November 24, 2015. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to a meeting in Tehran, Iran, November 24, 2015. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

Iranian diplomats have been in touch with members of US President Joe Biden’s administration about restarting talks on Iran’s nuclear program and have laid out seven preconditions, a source in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s office told a Kuwaiti newspaper on Sunday.

Speaking to Kuwait’s al-Jarida newspaper, the Iranian official said that contacts began before Biden took office, and indicated that they are ongoing but informal.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed by Iran and six world powers known as the P5+1 in 2015. Then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the deal in 2018, opting instead for a “maximum pressure” sanctions effort.

According to the Kuwaiti report, Majid Takht Rawanji, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, was summoned to Tehran to discuss the contacts with the new administration, and then returned to New York with a list of seven Iranian conditions for returning to talks on the nuclear program.

According to the Kuwaiti paper, the first condition is that Iran will not accept a partial lifting of sanctions because Tehran considers the JCPOA an indivisible agreement. The report said that Iran would demand that the US implement all aspects of the deal, including the full lifting of sanctions, if it wants to re-enter the accords.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman meets with Israel’s National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen at the US Department of State in Washington, DC on February 18, 2015. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)

Secondly, any disagreements over the accords must be discussed within the framework of the official negotiating committees. One of these anticipated disagreements is Tehran’s demand for compensation for financial losses it incurred due to the Trump administration’s exit from the deal, notably the financial impact of the sanctions.

The third condition was said to be that Tehran will not accept linkage between the nuclear deal and other issues, including its missile program and activities throughout the Middle East.

The fourth demand was reportedly that Iran will not accept any new members into the deal beyond the P5+1, including any Gulf Arab states.

Fifthly, any issues involving other regional states must be discussed separately, and not as part of the nuclear talks.

The sixth point was said to be that while Iran will not discuss its missile program, it is open to talking about regional arms control under the supervision of the United Nations and was said to be especially concerned about Israeli missiles and nuclear weapons.

Finally, Iran will not accept a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, and insists on a UN referendum of Palestinians and Jewish Israelis on “land.” There were no further details given on the content of the potential referendum.

This January 15, 2011, file photo, shows a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran (Mehdi Marizad/Fars News Agency via AP)

According to the report, Rawanji will communicate these conditions to the Biden administration.

In an article published Friday in Foreign Affairs, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote that Iran will not accept any new demands or terms to the deal proposed by Washington or any other signatories to the agreement.

If the US began by “unconditionally removing, with full effect, all sanctions imposed, reimposed, or relabeled since Trump took office” Iran would reverse the measures it has taken since the American withdrawal from the deal in 2018, Zarif said.

Officials in the Biden administration have already begun holding quiet talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, and have updated Israel on those conversations, Channel 12 News reported last week.

Biden has indicated his desire to return to the accord, while Israel is pushing for any return to the deal to include fresh limitations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terror and destabilization around the world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to dispatch Mossad chief Yossi Cohen to Washington in the coming weeks to lay out Israel’s demands of the Biden administration for any new version of the Iran nuclear deal, Channel 12 news reported Saturday night.

The network said Cohen, one of Netanyahu’s most trusted colleagues, is to travel to the US within the next month and will be the first senior Israeli official to meet  Biden. Cohen is also expected to meet with the head of the CIA.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report. 

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