0129 GMT June 15, 2021
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said the Vienna talks over the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have reached a point where some key issues still remain unresolved and in need of a decision.
“Of course, the differences are not over new issues, but pertaining to the sides’ return to the agreement,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday, IRNA reported.
He added that the next (sixth) round of the negotiations will begin in Vienna in a few days.
Commenting on his Wednesday meeting with the members of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Araqchi said, “Today, I provided comprehensive explanations on the latest developments in the Vienna negotiations.”
He added in his meeting with Iranian lawmakers, discussions are held over certain issues, which help enlighten the nuclear team and contribute to the talks’ progress.
Turning to the next round of the Vienna talks, Araqchi expressed hope that progress would be made on different issues.
It is too soon, he noted, to predict whether the next round of the negotiations would be the last one.
The fifth round of the Vienna talks ended a few days ago.
‘No sign yet’
Iran’s ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna said no sign has been detected yet indicating whether the US is determined enough and prepared to quit its addiction to resorting to unilateral and coercive measures, respect the international law, fulfill its commitments regarding the complete removal of the sanctions in an effective manner and make the tough necessary decisions on this issue.
Kazem Gharibabadi made the remarks in an address to a meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Wednesday, while elaborating on the Islamic Republic’s position regarding the report by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi on the verification of the JCPOA’s implementation.
In addition, Russia’s representative to the international organizations in Vienna said the restoration of the JCPOA would benefit the international community by facilitating trade with Tehran and boosting security in the Middle East, according to Press TV.
Mikhail Ulyanov made the remarks in the meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors in Vienna.
"The JCPOA restoration is in the interest of the entire international community."
Ulyanaov also said the JCPOA facilitates trade and economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic and contributes to security in the Middle East and the world.
"Members of the managing board and all pragmatic countries who are seriously concerned about the future of nuclear non-proliferation and international security, need to support the JCPOA talks underway in Vienna," he added.
Envoys from Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA, namely Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany, have been holding talks in Vienna aimed at revitalizing the JCPOA and bringing the US back to compliance since April.
A US delegation is also in the Austrian capital, but it is not attending the discussions because Washington is not a party to the nuclear accord.
Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the JCPOA had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 36 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of noncompliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
The Biden administration says it wants to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it is showing an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure.
Tehran stresses that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.
"If the nuclear deal is not restored, all of this will continue and get worse. However, the IAEA has managed to ensure a proper level of transparency on Iran’s nuclear program so far …. For all we know, despite certain routine issues, Tehran is ready for cooperation and creates no obstacles for the work of inspectors," Ulyanov said.
EU says committed to JCPOA
In the meantime, the European Union affirmed what it called "its resolute commitment" to the JCPOA.
"The EU is determined to continue working with the international community to preserve this agreement of strategic importance and a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture," it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The 27-nation bloc also called on all countries to support the JCPOA implementation in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the deal.
It voiced support for the diplomatic process aimed at reviving the JCPOA, saying, "We welcome the discussions held in Vienna at various levels in view of a possible return of the US to the JCPOA, and the perspective of Iran's return to full JCPOA implementation.”
The EU, however, expressed concerns about Iran's decision in February to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Safeguards Treaty, which stipulates enhanced international access to nuclear sites and snap inspections by the IAEA.
The halt came under the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, a law passed in December 2020 by the Iranian Parliament, and adds to Iran’s previous steps away from the JCPOA in response to the US unilateral withdrawal and the other parties’ failure to fulfill their commitments.
At the time, the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) reached a temporary bilateral technical understanding, under which the latter would continue to use cameras to record information at its nuclear sites for three months, but it would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Tehran will provide the footage information to the UN nuclear watchdog, otherwise it will be deleted forever.
The understanding expired last month, but it was extended for a further month until June 24 allowing the agency to continue necessary verification and monitoring work in the country.