Blinken: Withdrawal isolated US, not Iran
Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said the draft proposals he submitted during talks with world powers aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal “cannot be rejected”.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera in the Austrian capital Vienna, Baqeri Kani said on Friday Iran would deliver a third proposal once the first two it handed over the previous day were accepted.
“Iran’s proposals to the world powers cannot be rejected. They are based on the provisions of the 2015 agreement,” he said, adding that all nuclear-related US sanctions must be removed immediately.
On Thursday, the lead negotiator said the two proposals were related to “the removal of sanctions” and “Iran’s nuclear steps”, both main issues facing the JCPOA.
“Now the other side must examine these documents and prepare itself to hold negotiations with Iran based on these documents,” he said.
Representatives of Iran and China, France, Russia, Britain plus Germany, the P4+1 group, convened Monday in Vienna for the seventh round of talks to restore the landmark accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions against Iran, is only participating indirectly as Iran refuses to hold direct negotiations with it.
After the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission on Friday, Baqeri Kani demanded a “logical response” from the P4+1 to the draft proposals.
The third proposal will be mainly on the verification process and the guarantees Iran is requesting from the world powers in order to revive the nuclear deal.
If successful, the talks will remove US sanctions while scaling back Iran’s nuclear activities to the terms of the JCPOA.
Diplomats are expected return to Vienna to resume talks next week.
China's envoy Wang Qun said progress made during the negotiations this week should not be underestimated although "a breakthrough is far from being achieved".
China hopes that each party's consultation with their own governments during the adjournment of the talks will inject new political impetus into the negotiations, Wang said on Friday, according to Xinhua.
The talks helped other parties increase their understanding of the position of the new Iranian negotiating team, he explained.
China hopes all concerned parties will continue to work toward creating a good atmosphere for negotiations, Wang added.
China will continue to play a unique and constructive role, working with all parties for achieving results at an early date, he stressed.
US pullout consequences
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday accused Iran of not being serious about reviving the tattered deal.
Blinken threatened that the US would pursue "other options" if diplomacy failed.
He also blamed former US president Donald Trump, for unilaterally pulling the United States out of the JCPOA, isolating Washington.
“Ironically, the United States was isolated as a result of pulling out of the agreement, not Iran,” Blinken said.
Senior diplomats from the E3 group of Britain, France and Germany also expressed "disappointment” after analyzing Iran’s proposed changes to the draft text produced during the previous six rounds, which took place earlier this year, AFP reported.
"Our governments remain fully committed to a diplomatic way forward. But time is running out," they said.