Russia on Monday rejected calls for adding “new topics” to the ongoing talks in Vienna that aim to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s top negotiator at the talks in the Austrian capital, said such ideas are “unrealistic and counterproductive”, calling them “an attempt to hit three birds with one stone”.
“Some analysts and officials advocate for addressing new topics such as regional security and missiles. An attempt to hit three birds with one stone. Unrealistic and counterproductive. The agreed goal of the talks is just to restore the original JCPOA,” Ulyanov tweeted, using the formal name of the multilateral deal.
Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 and reimposed and then ramped up sanctions on Iran with his “maximum pressure” campaign in order to force Iran into negotiating a “better deal”.
The unilateral withdrawal sparked outcries from other parties to the deal – France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.
A year later Iran began to suspend its key commitments under the deal in a phased fashion in retaliation for the US unilateral measures.
Since April, Iran and other remaining JCPOA members have held talks in an effort to bring back Washington to compliance after US President Joe Biden signaled readiness to rejoin the deal.
Despite “significant progress” made in the course of meetings, negotiations seem to have reached a deadlock since the US refuses to lift all sanctions imposed under the Trump administration in a verifiable way as demanded by Iran and insists that other issues like Iran’s missile program and its regional activities must be dealt with.
Ulyanov noted in another tweet that “the agreed aim of the talks is to “restore the JCPOA in its original form. Nothing more and nothing less”.
US needs to rectify ‘wrongdoings’
China urged the United States to “correct its wrongdoings” over its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, in a series of tweets on Sunday quoted Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying that the US must “fully, unreservedly and thoroughly” remove all the sanctions it imposed on Iran.
“Naturally, the US should correct its wrongdoings. To start with, it should lift, fully, unreservedly and thoroughly, its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran and third parties, so as to encourage Iran to move in the same direction and to push for breakthroughs in the negotiations,” Hua cited China’s top diplomat as saying.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 9th World Peace Forum on Saturday, Wang said the US pullout from the JCPOA and its subsequent sanctions on Iran were “the root causes” of the current crisis surrounding the multilateral accord.
"The US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure on Iran are the root causes of the current Iranian nuclear crisis," Wang said.
He noted that it was most critical for the US to make an earlier decision to rejoin the JCPOA.
He said the US is the party that needs to “untie” the knot. "As the saying, goes, he who tied the bow should untie it."