President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday the groundwork has been laid for an agreement in Vienna where Iran and world powers are in talks to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“Everything is ready for an agreement,” Rouhani said at a cabinet session, adding that Iran is negotiating with full power.
The fifth round of talks began on Tuesday in the Austrian capital between Iran and other JCPOA parties – France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China – with the aim of bringing the United States back to compliance to the accord three years after former US president Donald Trump pulled out of it and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Rouhani noted that Iran now “has the upper hand” in the Vienna talks which he said are focused on how “to allow the US to return” to the deal and how to remove sanctions.
“They (the Americans) violated [the JCPOA]. They violated Resolution 2231 and acted against the agreement between the seven countries. We have the upper hand,” Rouhani said, pointing to a UN Security council Resolution that was adopted in 2015 to endorse the multilateral accord.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden is willing to rejoin the JCPOA. An American delegation has been in Vienna but no direct talks have ever been held between Iranian and US diplomats since the discussions began in early April.
Rouhani said the US must have no doubt that the party which needs to resume compliance with the JCPOA first is Washington.
“America must be the initiator. The Americans must not doubt [about it]. They must start [compliance] and we check [it],” he stressed.
Iran wants the United States to remove all sanctions imposed by Trump before rejoining the JCPOA. But the US says Iran first need to roll back nuclear measures it took in response to Trump’s withdrawal before getting a relief from sanctions.
Iran’s top negotiator Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday that some key issues remain unresolved.
“In the last round, we were able to make some meaningful progress in our negotiations, but there are still some key issues to be resolved,” Araqchi said after attending the latest round of talks in Vienna.
“I cannot say that we are able to conclude our job in this round of negotiations but this is possible; it depends on how much we are able to make progress on key issues and how much the other parties are prepared to make their own difficult decisions,” the Iranian deputy foreign minister told Press TV.
“I am not confident that it would be possible to conclude the negotiations but there is a possibility.”
Earlier in the day, Araqchi met with Enrique Mora, the deputy of European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell who chaired the Vienna meeting.
The spokesman for the Iranian government said at a weekly press conference on Tuesday that JCPOA parties have reached preliminary agreements on how to revive the deal, but the fundamental steps necessary for that goal require political decisions to be made, particularly in Washington.
“Much of the negotiations about the removal of the sanctions and the steps by [all] sides to return to compliance [with the Iran deal in its original form] have been carried out and preliminary understandings have been reached,” Ali Rabiei said.
“Small differences remain — over which negotiations will continue until final results are achieved.”
Rabiei stressed that based on the understandings, all sides would return to compliance with the original deal — as agreed in 2015.