“The course of the Vienna talks proves once again that US overestimated the influence of maximum pressure on Iran. Pressure continues but Iran isn’t in the rush although it knows that the sooner the talks are completed the sooner sanctions are lifted,” tweeted Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s lead negotiator to the talks in the Austrian capital.
Ulyanov underlined that sanctions are not the only factor being taken into consideration by the Islamic Republic, which has been negotiating the restoration of the nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with the remaining signatories of the deal since early April, three years after the agreement was ditched by the previous US administration in pursuit of the “maximum pressure” policy, Press TV wrote.
So far, six rounds of negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital, as a result of which, according to participants, “significant progress” has been made in the course of the “constructive” and “businesslike” talks.
However, disagreements have persisted over a number of issues, including how to sequence the US sanctions removal, with Tehran arguing that since Washington was the party that violated the terms of the agreement, it should take the first step back into compliance with the deal by removing its unilateral sanctions.
Tehran has also asked for guarantees that the US won’t again leave the JCPOA under a new administration but the administration of President Joe Biden says it cannot give such guarantees.
Iran is also dissatisfied with the scope of sanctions that the US is willing to remove, saying the US sanctions removal must cover all the sanctions that were slapped on the Islamic Republic after the JCPOA went into force in January 2016.
The US has asked for follow-on talks about other issues, such as Iran’s missile program, which Tehran has strongly rejected.
In another tweet later on Thursday, Ulyanov pointed to the latest reports on the possible continuation of the talks under the next Iranian government and urged Iran not to let the talks get protracted for a long time.
The long break between the sixth round of the Vienna talks and the expected seventh has given rise to the assumption that Tehran might be waiting for the incoming government of Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi to take office before resuming the talks.
Ulyanov said Tehran “needs more time for preparations” following its June 18 presidential election. The sixth round was concluded two days after the election.
“According to the latest reports Iran will be ready to resume the Vienna talks on #JCPOA only after August 5. The question is when exactly,” he said.
If the break in the talks lasts too long, the Russian diplomat continued, the negotiators “can lose the momentum and the process would take much longer time than expected.”
Iran’s outgoing President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope that the new government will achieve the final favorable conclusion.
“The job is [nearly] done,” Rouhani said during a cabinet session. “Although they took the opportunity away from the 12th administration, we hope the 13th administration would be able to get this job done.”