0531 GMT February 25, 2020
Abbas Araqchi made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow on Thursday, according to IRNA.
Referring to French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to save the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iranian diplomat said Tehran always welcomes any idea and initiative that can contribute to the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
However, he added, “such initiatives are acceptable only if they are balanced and realistic and serve Iran’s interests under the JCPOA.”
US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the JCPOA in May 2018 and unleashed the "toughest ever" sanctions against Iran in defiance of global criticism in a bid to strangle the Iranian oil trade.
In response to the US move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, and has warned it will take the fourth step if its expectations are not met.
The country, at the same, has stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.
Araqchi lashed out at the US’ one-sided policies and Europe’s failure to fulfill its commitments after Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, and said, “If Iran’s demands are not met, the Islamic Republic will continue to reduce its JCPOA commitments based on its right enshrined in Article 36 of the accord, and no one should doubt Iran’s resolve to do that.”
He warned European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal that the time is running out and the path to diplomacy is getting narrower and more impassable every day.
Araqchi stressed that the path for diplomacy is still open.
“However, this path is getting narrower and more impassable every day, and the countries remaining in the JCPOA should know they have little time, if they are serious about maintaining the deal,” he warned.
The Russian diplomat, for his part, blasted Washington’s withdrawal from the multilateral agreement, and described it as a stark violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
“Russia supports the JCPOA as a great achievement of multilateralism and will keep in touch with other JCPOA parties in order to save the deal,” Ryabkov noted.
At the end of the meeting, both officials described close consultations between the two countries as valuable and stressed the need for continuing the talks.