President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday what Iran is seeking through the ongoing talks in Vienna is the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear accord, neither more nor less.
“The JCPOA must be implemented effectively,” Rouhani said referring to the deal by its official name. “We want the strict implementation of the JCPOA, not a single word more or less.”
He said Iran is not to putting forward the demand during the ongoing talks, but suggested that Tehran will in the future press for compensation for damages the US sanctions have inflicted upon the country, Press TV reported.
Iran, said Rouhani, suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in damages under the US sanctions.
The US imposed several rounds of severe economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the JCPOA under former US president Donald Trump in May 2018. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has promised to rejoin the landmark agreement and repeal the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
Rouhani explained that the resurrection of the nuclear pact must include three steps, the first of which is the removal of the sanctions by the United States.
“The second step is verification [by Iran], and we can announce [the result of] the verification in a short span of time,” he said.
The third step, the president continued, will be Iran’s complete resumption of its nuclear obligations which “we will execute thoroughly”.
Rouhani said the three steps should be followed by confidence-building measures, asserting that Tehran will comply with the deal as long as it feels that all signatories to the deal are sincere, serious and determined to resolve the issue.
“Of course, this should not take a long time, but rather, we must finish this and reach results in a short time,” he stated.
The president’s remarks came a day after the participants of the JCPOA Joint Commission – Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China – concluded the talks in order to return to their respective capitals for consultations. The next round of talks will begin next week.
According to Rouhani, during the Tuesday meeting, the participants discussed the issue of verification thoroughly. He added that “verification is not that complicated”.
He said the other parties seem to be serious, but they need to provide a detailed list of the sanctions that must be removed.
“In some steps, we took them to be serious, but in other steps, they spoke ambiguously,” he said.
Rouhani also stressed that all of the steps the Iranian negotiators have taken so far have been within the framework defined by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Ayatollah Khamenei has stated that Iran would reverse its nuclear measures only after all the sanctions are removed in one step that must be verified by the Islamic Republic.
He has also warned against protracted talks on restoring the JCPOA.
Speaking after the latest round of the talks in Vienna on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the discussions are “progressive” despite “the existing difficulties”.
Participants in the Tuesday session discussed the latest developments surrounding technical talks, preliminary drafts and ways to continue the negotiations.
Araqchi said talks were held in a “serious and professional climate” and that all delegations are trying to find ways to revive the JCPOA, according to IRNA.
“All we are trying to do is reach a single document that outlines exactly the US obligations and the steps Iran will take to return to full compliance with the JCPOA,” he said.
Araqchi said the negotiations are focused on a “final action” and the delegations are working in a “final step”.
The chief negotiator stressed Iran is “definitely against a step-for-step process” and that such approach has long been abandoned in the talks.
The European Union spokesman Peter Stano said the EU, as the coordinator of the Vienna talks, has done its utmost to direct the meetings toward success.
“We are strongly focused on this,” Stano told reporters on Tuesday.
China reiterated its call for the removal of all sanctions imposed on Iran and third parties.
Wang Qun, China’s envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, told reporters on Tuesday that the talks on the fate of the deal have been “beneficial” and that they have entered a new stage.
Wang said the discussions led to a clearer understanding and laid a solid foundation for the next stage of the talks, adding that China firmly supports the resumption of the JCPOA’s implementation by the US and Iran “as soon as possible”.