EU: Negotiations ‘difficult’ but source of hope
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied a report that the United States does not intend to remove all its sanctions on the Islamic Republic in order to reenter the 2015 nuclear deal.
“If the United States had insisted on such matters, the talks would have halted by now,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told IRNA, referring to the ongoing discussions between Iran and the remaining parties to the landmark agreement, known as the JCPOA, in Vienna to revitalize it.
Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are set to resume a fourth round of weekly talks in the Austrian capital on Friday to discuss steps that the US is required to take to rejoin the deal from which former US president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran.
A US delegation has been in a separate location in Vienna, hence representatives of the five powers and the European Union, which coordinates the talks, shuttle between both sides because Iran has rejected direct talks wiht Americans.
Khatibzadeh said that “differences between Iran and the US in Vienna are not few” and that “some US stances are not acceptable”.
“That is why the Iranian delegation is conducting the talks carefully and punctiliously,” he added.
Press TV on Tuesday quoted “an informed source” as saying that America’s “continued refusal to terminate all the sanctions” on Iran “will definitely bring the Vienna negotiations… to a halt”.
“America’s insistence on not terminating these sanctions will lead to a definitive halt in the negotiations” the unnamed source told the broadcaster.
“The so-called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) as well as visa and U-turn regulations are all in violation of Article 29 of the deal,” the source was quoted as saying.
Khatibzadeh said what the media outlet has claimed “citing again an unknown informed source” is “wrong”.
“This case and other similar claims are wrong,” he stressed.
The Foreign Ministry has already criticized the English-language news channel for its coverage of the Vienna talks.
Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, who leads the Iranian delegation in Vienna, tweeted on April 20: “I don’t know who the ‘informed source’ of Press TV in Vienna is, but s/he is certainly not ‘informed’.”
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Washington has demonstrated “seriousness” to rejoin the JCPOA.
“We’ve had serious discussions in Vienna that have gone on now for several weeks. We’ve seen some progress at least in demonstrating the seriousness with which the United States takes the effort to return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA,” Blinken told the Financial Times on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of foreign ministers from the G7 group of the world’s most developed nations in Britain
He added that there is still “a long way to go if we’re going get anywhere”.
Blinken said the US needs to see whether Iran is “willing and able to make the necessary decisions on its part” for returning to compliance.
“As one of my colleagues said the other day there is more road yet to go than road that has been traveled,” he said.
Source of hope
Speaking after the G7 meeting in London, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the Vienna talks proved to be “difficult, but going on”.
“Things are not going better, but there are some places – Iran can be one of them… – where we can have a certain hope that they will improve," Borrell said.
The top EU diplomat said he has discussed the situation of the Vienna talks with Blinken.
A statement by the European Union External Action Service said the meeting was an “opportunity” to discuss a bilateral basis for some of the most urgent foreign and security challenges ahead.
The statement added that Borrell and Blinken addressed the latest developments in the ongoing discussions on the JCPOA “in view of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA”.