Khatibzadeh made the remarks while speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon following Foreign Ministry forwarded a quarterly report to the Iranian Parliament on the Vienna talks for revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Mehr News Agency reported.
US former president Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA in 2018 and then ramped up sanctions on Iran with his “maximum pressure” campaign in order to force Iran into negotiating a “better deal”.
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.
"Given the progress made, we can say that we are close to the end of the Vienna talks. Some unresolved issues remain, but what matters is that the weight of unresolved issues far outweighs the unresolved issues. We have come a long way, but it will not be easy. We hope that the other parties can make their own decisions so that we too can reach an agreement that will be in everyone's interests," Khatibzadeh said.
The spokesman added, "In Vienna, all delegations acknowledge that relatively good progress has been made and all agree on their seriousness to continue on the path and reach an agreement to revive the JCPOA, but they also agree there are some key issues that need to be decided upon by decision-making bodies in their respective countries."
He also noted, "What everyone in our country agrees on is that, firstly, US sanctions must be lifted in an effective manner and, secondly, any excessive demands beyond the JCPOA have nothing to do with this agreement. It has been repeatedly stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume its full compliance with the obligations as soon as the nuclear deal is fully implemented and verified."
Khatibzadeh also pointed out that, "From the Islamic Republic of Iran's perspective, the progress of the negotiations in Vienna...Not only a lot of draft texts have been prepared, but also the unfinished parts have also been identified and elaborated on that clearly show the differences. This will help the decision-makers to realize what stage of the decision they are at."
The spokesman went on to say that, "Our stances have not changed since the beginning of the [Vienna] negotiations, and we call for the lifting of sanctions, their verification, and then the resumption of our country's implementation of commitments."
He also underlined that, "the United States, as a violator of JCPOA, must provide the necessary guarantees. In the Vienna talks, within the framework of national interests, we only pursue the goals set by high-ranking officials."
The spokesman of the foreign ministry added that the change in administrations in Iran will not affect the Vienna talks and the revival of the JCPOA.
He further noted that there are talks underway on prisoners swap between Iran and the United States and other countries that hold Iranian nationals in their prisons unjustly.
Khatibzadeh also said that with regard to the unfreezing of the Iranian funds in South Korea under the US sanctions, there has not been any major progress.
Elsewhere, he pointed out that Iran will continue its cooperation with Cuba on producing the joint anti-coronavirus vaccines.