TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi rejected a recent claim by US Special Representative on Iran Brian Hook that Washington’s policy of maximum pressure on Tehran is working, saying the remarks are nothing but a joke.

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“Joke of the day!” Araqchi said in a post on his official Twitter account on Friday, referring to Hook’s claim that the US policy of maximum economic pressure on Tehran is working.

Speaking to Reuters, Hook said, “We are dedicated to this policy of maximum economic pressure because it is working, it is denying the regime historic levels of revenue.”

“Our sanctions do not give Iran the right to accelerate its nuclear program,” he noted.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Araqchi has paid a trip to the Austrian capital of Vienna to attend a meeting of the Joint Commission of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Speaking to reporters earlier, Araqchi said Iran’s policy of “strategic patience” has ended and it cannot bear unilateral commitment to the deal more than this.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced last Friday that the country plans to begin the second phase of measures to reduce its commitments under the JCPOA on July 7.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in the central city of Isfahan, Zarif pointed to Iran’s measures regarding the JCPOA and said in President Hassan Rouhani’s letter to the leaders of the JCPOA parties and in his letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Iran has announced two phases of measures.

The first phase started on May 8 and the second phase will begin on July 7, the Iranian top diplomat added.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA, a 159-page nuclear agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) came into force in January 2016.

Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

However, the EU’s failure to ensure Iran’s economic interests forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments under JCPOA on May 8, 2019.

Iran has also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining JCPOA parties to fulfill their undertakings.