All news

US ready to lift some of anti-Iranian sanctions, but not all of them — Department of State

Washington is expecting important announcements from Iran on Saturday

WASHINGTON, April 10. /TASS/. The United States is ready to lift anti-Iranian sanctions that run counter to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, but it does not mean that all restrictions will be removed, a senior US Department of State official told reporters via teleconference.

"And so there’s a position that we’ve said, which is sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and with the benefits that are supposed to come out of the JCPOA, those will be lifted," he said.

According to the US diplomat, under the JCPOA the United States could impose sanctions over alleged terrorist activities, human rights violations, election meddling and some other issues.

He also said that the process of removing unilateral US restrictions was seriously complicated by the previous US administration’s steps.

"It’s not as easy a process as it may sound precisely because the [Donald] Trump administration went out of its way to make it difficult for a successor administration to rejoin the JCPOA," he said.

In his words, Donald Trump’s administration relabeled things, originally been designated on nuclear grounds, using terrorism designations. "And so we have to go through the effort, the painstaking effort, of looking through the sanctions to see which are - which need to be lifted for purposes of rejoining the JCPOA and which need to be kept," he said.

When asked whether Washington submitted a list of sanctions that it was ready to cancel to Tehran, the diplomat said: "We did not submit a list. <…> We exchanged ideas about the principles that would guide any sanctions lifting on the U.S. side. And Iran did not submit a list either."

In his words, Washington is expecting important announcements from Iran on Saturday.

Talks aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear program were held in Vienna on April 6-9, with the participation of Iran and the five international mediators (Germany, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia). The United States, which withdrew from the agreement during former president Donald Trump’s tenure, sent its delegation to Vienna as well, but they had no direct contacts with Iranian negotiators.

The future of the deal was called in question after the United States’ unilateral pullout in May, 2018 and Washington’s unilateral oil export sanctions against Teheran. Iran argued that all other participants, Europeans in the first place, were ignoring some of their own obligations in the economic sphere, thus making the deal in its current shape senseless. This said, it began to gradually scale down its commitments under the deal. One of US President Joe Biden’s campaign pledges was to return to the agreement with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on March 2 that JCPOA provisions were out of discussion, and the only way to revive the deal would be to cancel Washington’s sanctions against Iran. The United States, however, says it is ready to lift only the sanctions that run counter to JCPOA provisions.