TEHRAN, May 1, YJC - Iran said there is no negotiation between Tehran and Washington outside the nuclear issue, but US officials have requested talks over the case of one or two prisoners in the Islamic Republic.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
"As in the past, we have no mandate for dialog with America outside the JCPOA issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in Tehran Monday, citing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The JCPOA refers to the nuclear accord which Iran reached with the US as well as France, Germany, Italy, Russia and China in 2015.
The accord saw Iran and the US hold high-level diplomatic parleys for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution but those exchanges did not go beyond the purview of the nuclear issue.
Qassemi said, "Thus far, we have maintained the principle of no negotiations with America in the spheres beyond the JCPOA and continue with that."
"However, some dialog was held with the previous American government on humanitarian grounds about Iranian prisoners in the US, which had positive results," the spokesman added.
"Under this administration, the American side has apparently brought up the issue of one or two individuals held in Iranian prisons," according to Qassemi.
"In principle, we do not engage in any other talks with the US, and subject matters have to do with the JCPOA,” he noted.
Iran complaint about US
The spokesman said Iran had complained to the JCPOA Joint Commission, which monitors the deal’s implementation, during the panel's latest gathering in Vienna on April 25 about the United States reneging on its commitments.
Since the conclusion of the accord, the US has refused to properly deploy the guarantees required to ensure European and other financial institutions against punitive American measures, should they seek to restore their transactions with Iran to the pre-sanctions level. Washington has just served the institutions with verbal "assurance.”
Ever since his January inauguration, US President Donald Trump has adopted a harsh position against the deal, at times threatening to "tear up” the accord.
Qassemi said the Iranian delegation had also told the commission about Trump’s remarks and positions, which had to some extent affected the monetary and financial aspects of post-sanctions transactions.
The commission, he said, had thanked Iran for staying true to its obligations under the deal.
Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid noted in the gathering’s final statement that Washington had to honor its contractual commitments, Qassemi said. All agreed that the agreement has to remain in force, he stated.
‘Terror, diplomacy no match’
Qassemi also highlighted the great power of diplomacy as a best vehicle recognized the world over.
"However, when it comes to blind terrorists and those terrorists, for whom the human life does not matter, it is the language of force and power that should be applied in response to their inhumane acts,” he said, "So, it is not right to [employ] the subject of diplomacy in dealing with terrorists.”
Saudi embassy attack
The official said some of the problems related to ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia have to do with the January 2016 "vigilante" attack on the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran.
He noted that high-ranking Iranian officials and the Foreign Ministry have condemned the attack and that the country's judiciary has been tasked with serving justice to the perpetrators.
Qassemi further expressed hope that the matter would be eventually resolved and those behind it consigned to justice so the entire affair would serve as a salutary lesson for those contemplating such arbitrary acts which affect Iran's foreign and diplomatic policy.
On Saturday, Iranian national Saeed Karimian and a Kuwaiti business partner of his were driving through the Sariyer district of Istanbul, Turkey when unknown assailants stopped their car and opened fire on them, according to local sources.
The sources said Karimian, who owned satellite television network GEM TV, died on the spot, and his Kuwaiti companion later succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.
Qassemi said Iran had asked Turkey to provide it with the conclusion of its investigation into the alleged incident.
"The issue is on the agenda, and our embassy in Ankara and the Foreign Ministry are pursuing the matter," the spokesman said.