Without the lifting of sanctions, the main purpose of the JCPOA has not been achieved: Qalibaf

In his televised speech that was delivered on January 8, 2021, Imam Khamenei discussed the issue of the JCPOA and US commitments in that regard. He said, “We do not at all insist on the return of the US to the JCPOA, and we are in no rush for that country to do so… Our reasonable, logical demand is that sanctions be lifted. This is a right that has been taken away from the Iranian nation.” These sentences represent the position that Imam Khamenei described as being the “final, definitive word” of the Islamic Republic.  KHAMENEI.IR has conducted an interview with Muhammad Baqir Qalibaf, the Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, in order to clarify the Islamic Republic’s position on sanctions and the nuclear deal.

Interviewer: What is your analysis of the Leader’s statements about the need to lift sanctions?

Mr. Qalibaf: One of the main leaps made after the Revolution was scientific and technological achievements. His Eminence has reiterated many times that he will stand by the country’s scientific development and progress until his last breath. Today, we can witness that we are truly among the top 10 countries in the world in all areas, including: nanotechnology, biotechnology, nuclear science and health – such as recent achievements in terms of a Corona vaccine.

The US and the Zionist regime were worried about our scientific progress. Of course, they were not able to find fault with the path that we were taking in many other scientific fields. But in the area of nuclear energy, they managed to fabricate an excuse. As a result, they exerted pressures, imposed sanctions and issued threats continuously, and this continued until we came to the issue of the JCPOA. What was the purpose of the JCPOA? It essentially came into being to respond to the accusations made by the Zionist regime and the US and to dispel doubts concerning the peaceful, nuclear program of Iran. And secondly, the goal was to remove unfair, cowardly, inhumane, illegal sanctions imposed by the US. In fact, the main philosophy behind the JCPOA was to lift all the sanctions that they had imposed.

Of course, Trump destroyed all agreements made with one signature, showing how they could violate international laws with their aggressive manner. They even imposed more sanctions. When the JCPOA was supposed to result in all sanctions being completely lifted, what will be its purpose if it fails to do so?


Interviewer: With the way the Americans have behaved, the JCPOA has actually failed to achieve its purpose.

Mr. Qalibaf: Yes, even during the Obama administration the sanctions were not lifted. Later on, Trump imposed non-nuclear sanctions and severe restrictions under various excuses. These new sanctions even included medications and food.


Interviewer: The Leader of the Revolution set a condition saying that the requirement for the US’s return to the JCPOA is the lifting of sanctions. In your opinion, which specific, practical steps should the US and European countries take?

Mr. Qalibaf: The US’s return to the JCOPA is of no significance to us and our nation. Why? Because for us, the main point of the JCOPA was to lift sanctions. The US withdrew from it out of its own volition. It also imposed additional sanctions on our nation and failed to honor its commitments as specified in the JCPOA. What does the US want to do if it returns to the JCPOA? First of all, it is obliged to lift the sanctions it has imposed after withdrawing from the nuclear deal. Secondly, it should honor the commitments specified in the JCOPA. These are commitments that have so far been violated.

When we say that the lifting of sanctions should take place in action, this means that we should be able to carry out our economic dealings normally and easily. We should be able to export our oil and conduct other trade deals: be that imports or exports. Our banking system should be able to function normally. Our property and monetary assets in other countries should be freed – the assets that we cannot transfer right now. These measures should be adopted in practice. And our nation, our people and our economic system should see these in practice. During the Obama and John Kerry administration, they signed this agreement. We honored our commitments and they honored theirs on paper only. We have not even been able to import medicines.


Interviewer: Regarding the idea of “commitment in return for commitment,” the Parliament and the administration have adopted a measure according to which the Islamic Republic will stop abiding by some of its commitments and will start the 20-percent enrichment process due to the actions of the western side. In your opinion, with the experience gained as a result of the JCPOA, can we use these leverages of power at this time?

Mr. Qalibaf: The discussion over 20-percent uranium enrichment took place within the framework of lifting sanctions and it was ratified as a law in Parliament. Why did this happen? It is clear. The two sides were supposed to fulfill their commitments in parallel. We fulfilled ours, but they did not fulfill theirs.

Our purpose in ratifying the bill was to produce strength. Of course, let me say clearly that what was ratified in Parliament was within the framework of the JCPOA. Some Articles in the nuclear deal give members the authority to stop fulfilling their commitments if the other side fails to fulfill theirs.

The law ratified in Parliament was actually able to produce strength in the area of diplomacy. Of course, it was true strength, not just an act of ratifying a mere bill. Once I witnessed that one of the sides involved in the JCPOA told our Minister of Foreign Affairs that we don’t have to enforce our law. Well, we have seen the Trump-esque example of this in the US, and we have seen what democracy means in that country. Well, we heard this from the Europeans as well. In other words, they recommend that we not enforce our law! This is truly strange.


Interviewer: One important and frequently used term employed by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution is “the JCPOA experience.” We have been dealing with the nuclear issue for many years, and we have gained experience due to the nuclear deal in recent years. In your opinion, if the country wishes to make a new move in this area, what could our possible roadmap be?

Mr. Qalibaf: In my opinion, everything that happened after the JCPOA clarified a certain reality in a very clear and transparent way, which is the fact that the enemy cannot be trusted. The enemy is after its own interests. Of course, we are not after creating an enemy. By “enemy” we mean those people whose enmity toward our nation has been clear both before and after the Revolution. Even regarding the nuclear issue, when we began to negotiate with the US and when we reached a nuclear agreement, we witnessed how they dishonored and violated their commitments. When they had a change of government, the new government disregarded all the agreements made. 



  • Experiences from JCPOA
  • US Sanctions agaist Iran