Iran prepared to fulfill nuclear deal commitments, president tells Coveney

Hassan Rouhani says United States must lift ‘illegal sanctions’ during Tehran meeting with Minister

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has travelled to Tehran to meet with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani as part of his role as a UN Security Council facilitator of the nuclear deal agreed in 2015 between Iran and major world powers. Video: Reuters

 

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said his country is prepared to take steps to live up to measures in the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as soon as the United States lifts economic sanctions.

In a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, Mr Rouhani said: “Iran is ready to immediately take compensatory measures based on the nuclear deal and fulfil its commitments just after the US illegal sanctions are lifted and it abandons its policy of threats and pressure.”

The Iranian leader criticised the European signatories of the historic nuclear deal for what he said was their inaction on their commitments to the agreement. He said Iran was the only country that kept its side of the bargain.

In 2018, Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Iranian nuclear accord, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

When the United States then reimposed some sanctions and added others, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.

The Sunday morning meeting between Mr Coveney and Mr Rouhani took place in the context of Ireland’s role on the UN Security Council as facilitator in the implementation of the nuclear deal.

Mr Coveney said afterwards that this was a “crucial moment” for the nuclear accord. “I am in ongoing contact with the parties to the agreement and today’s discussions with President Rouhani and Minister Zarif were intensive and productive,” he said, adding that Ireland encouraged all parties to return to full compliance with the deal.

The Iranian government said in a tweet that during the meeting Mr Rouhani referred to Ireland’s membership of the Security Council and “its impartial approach”,adding that the council should stand against the former US administration over its “baseless violation” of the nuclear deal.

Mr Coveney’s visit took place amid signs that the nuclear deal, which stalled after it was repudiated by Mr Trump, could be resuscitated under the administration of new US president Joe Biden.

The trip also came days after the Government announced it would reopen Ireland’s embassy in Tehran. Mr Coveney also discussed wider Middle East issues with Mr Rouhani and the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif.

The main focus of the visit, however, was the stalled nuclear deal. Concluded in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, UK, China, Russia and France – plus Germany and the EU, the deal saw Iran agree to inspections to verify that its nuclear programme was purely for peaceful purposes, in return for a lifting of sanctions against the country.

Mr Biden has indicated his desire to restart the deal, and in recent days there have been indications that informal talks could begin next month. – AP