“The progress is significant, and many things were agreed upon, but not everything,” Lavrov said at a press conference after negotiations with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Alzayani, Sputnik reported.
Lavrov also commented on the main obstacles hindering the restoration of the 2015 deal that the US abandoned three year later.
“If the United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement and thereby violated the UN Security Council resolution in a gross manner, then, probably, the US return to the JCPOA presupposes a complete and unconditional renewal of all obligations,” Lavrov explained.
“In my opinion, a very honest approach is to fully restore what was signed and approved unanimously by the Security Council ... But our Western partners are trying in every possible way to use this situation in order to retroactively change the JCPOA and impose new obligations on Iran,” the Russian foreign minister concluded.
The US, under former president Donald Trump, left the nuclear deal in 2018 and initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign of tough economic sanctions against Iran, prompting Tehran to take remedial measures by gradually reducing its nuclear commitments under the deal.
Since April, representatives from Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA — France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — have been holding face-to-face talks in the Austrian capital aimed at bringing the US back to compliance and putting the deal back on track.
Trump’s withdrawal was criticized by Joe Biden, who defeated him in the November presidential election. Biden had promised to rejoin the JCPOA but the US is yet to take a concrete, verifiable step to that goal.
The talks have, however, dragged on, signaling that the US is still refusing to meet Tehran’s key conditions for it to return to the JCPOA.
Iran seeks guarantee
Speaking to reporters after a United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi said a guarantee by the United States that it will never unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA again is crucial to a successful conclusion of the ongoing talks in Vienna.
He reiterated that the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal was illegal and against international regulations, adding, “The US left the JCPOA illegally, irrationally and without any reason.”
More time needed
Russia’s permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna said the participating states in the Vienna talks still need more time for what is supposed to be the final round of negotiations in the Austrian capital to revive the JCPOA.
“The Vienna talks on the JCPOA will resume as soon as all the participating states are ready for what is supposed to be the final stage of negotiations,” Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet on Thursday.
Ulyanov said some participants need more time before the beginning of the seventh round of the Vienna talks.
“Looks like we will meet in Vienna not earlier than next week,” he added.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday that Moscow expects that the Vienna talks will be successfully completed by July 14 – the sixth anniversary of the JCPOA conclusion.
She praised sizable progress made on the nuclear deal revival by the negotiating sides during the Vienna talks, saying, “Over these three months, the delegations have managed to achieve substantial progress in coordinating the parameters and modalities of the process to restore the JCPOA.”
Zakharova also denounced the United States for failing to take any practical measure to solve the dispute on Iran’s nuclear case.
No practical moves are seen from the US for now of abandoning its policy of pressuring Iran, she said.