Araqchi made the remarks in an interview with the Young Journalists Club (YJC), in reaction to the latest report on the US move to pass Trump’s phone number to Switzerland so that they would give it to Iran for a direct phone call amid heightened tensions with Tehran.
The Iranian official said the international community believes the White House has committed a great mistake by quitting the Iran nuclear deal and exerting pressure on the country to force it into sitting for new round of talks.
“Washington should make changes to its policy and behaviour towards Iran to find a way out of the current tension it has created for itself. The move doesn’t need any mediator or phone number,” he was quoted as saying in the interview.
Araqchi highlighted the role that the Europeans can play to exert pressure on the US to change its policies towards Iran, saying the US conditions for talks with Iran are ridiculous.
“Meanwhile, we receive conflicting signals from the White House for talks. The US secretary of state sets 12 conditions for talks but President Trump reduces them to one condition which has already been met in the Iran nuclear deal,” Araqchi noted, referring to Trump’s comment that the only thing the US wants is to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
“I think the White House is suffering from a chaos in its foreign policy towards Iran, the region and the world. Making a revision to Washington’s policy is the only way out of the current self-fabricated crisis,” he noted.
In response to a question on what measure the Islamic Republic is to adopt after Trump passed his direct phone number, he said in case of need, the Americans have “our direct phone number.”
Iran Not to Extend 60-Day Deadline for Europeans
Araqchi then said the European countries have already expressed their preparedness to hold talks with Iran on the Iran nuclear deal.
He said Iran has never refrained from holding talks with the remaining sides of the JCPOA but “as we have announced, the Islamic Republic will begin to decrease its commitments under the JCPOA once our two-month deadline is over,” he said.
Araqchi underlined that Iran attaches no importance to the Europeans’ statements. “What is important for us is the practical measures that they adopt to meet our demands which have been clear enough.”
My Words On Afghan Refugees Misinterpreted
Araqchi then referred to the controversy over his recent remarks about Afghan immigrants in Iran, and underlined that Iran is not planning to deport Afghans and that his words on the issue have been misinterpreted.
“The main issue is that the western countries and particularly the Europeans should remain faithful to their related commitments. They should pay the costs of refugees in other countries or accept some of them in their own country.”
INSTEX Mechanism Making Slow Progress
The deputy foreign minister then referred to the talks underway between Iran and the European countries on the mechanism to keep their mutual trade ties following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and said negotiations are still underway.
Talks over the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), the special purpose vehicle devised by the EU to save the Iran nuclear deal, are making good but slow progress, he noted.
“Last Tuesday, we held our last talks,” he noted.
According to Araqchi, INSTEX could be helpful for Iran only if it becomes operational soon and covers all areas and goods under the US sanctions. “Unfortunately, the preparations for INSTEX implementation have been going on slowly so far and the prospect doesn’t seem promising unless the Europeans take some long strides within the next two months.”