The PJ Tatler

Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator: Lift All Sanctions First, No Concessions

Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator has stressed yet again that there is no deal with the P5+1 unless all sanctions on the Islamic Republic are lifted first.

In fact, there are “no concessions” on Iran’s part forthcoming, he said.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said early this month that Tehran’s “principle position is that all sanctions are lifted at once.”

Last week, 260 lawmakers in the 290-seat Islamic Consultative Assembly wrote a letter demanding that all sanctions be removed as a prerequisite for signing a nuclear deal.

“As a guarantee for implementation, in case of any violation of obligations by the opposite side, the agreement will be declared null and void and enrichment will be resumed at any required level,” the lawmakers wrote.

And over the weekend, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will ultimately sign off on or reject any nuclear deal, tweeted his agreement. “We reject US fraudulent offer of reaching a deal w first then lifting sanctions. Lifting sanctions is a part of deal not its outcome,” Khamenei tweeted.

Now today, with more than two weeks of negotiations having passed since his original comments, Araqchi is reiterating that “Tehran’s confidence-building measures and removal of sanctions by the powers are the objectives of the ongoing nuclear talks between the two sides,” according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

Fars reported that Araqchi stressed “Iran is not to give away any concessions”:

He described the present phase of the talks as “sensitive”, and said it was natural for certain people to make some remarks to influence the process of the negotiations.

However, Araqchi said, Iran is not to grant any concessions.

Commenting on the recent remarks of the US President Barack Obama who said Iran has not provided enough concessions yet, he said the American president is making the remarks to affect the negotiations.

He said none of the parties is expected to offer concessions, specially Iran.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said today at the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Senate floor that the Obama administration trying to repeal Iran sanctions at the UN and not coming to Congress would be met with a bipartisan “violent response.”

“The Iranians are going to demand immediate sanction relief, and I hope we’ll say no. Until the IAEA verifies what they’ve been doing in the past, I think it would be ill-advised to relieve the sanctions,” Graham said at the CFR event. “They’re going to ask for a research-and-development capability. That scares the hell out of me, and I hope we’ll say no. If they demand immediate sanctions relief, the deal probably falls. Then we’ll be in no-man’s territory. Just, we don’t know what will happen next.”

“And that’s the most dangerous time, because that’s when they’re most likely to break out. Whether they believe that Obama would use force to stop their breakout, after drawing the red line with Assad, I doubt it. Whether they believe that P5+1 would do it as a group, I doubt it after the way we’ve handled Russia and the Ukraine.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that they “have made pretty clear… that this deal will be predicated on serious commitments from the Iranians about resolving the international community’s concerns with their nuclear program and a commitment that they will comply with intrusive inspections.”

“And those are the kinds of commitments that we’re going to insist on before we even contemplate any sort of sanctions relief,” Earnest said. “And what we would envision is a demonstrated commitment to the — to compliance with the agreement before phasing the sanctions relief.”