Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday that during recent talks with world powers in Vienna, Iran demanded nothing more than what had been agreed upon in the 2015 nuclear deal.
“What the Iranian delegation has put forward as a draft is completely within the framework of the JCPOA,” Amir-Abdollahian said at a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Tehran, using the formal name of the multilateral deal.
He stressed that Iran requested “nothing beyond” the JCPOA in its draft proposals to the remaining members’ pact – France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia, known as the P4+1 – that on Friday wrapped up a seventh round of discussions after five days in the Austrian capital in a new push to revitalize the tattered agreement.
The JCPOA has been unraveling since former US president Donald Trump ditched it in 2018 and reinstated and reinforced the “toughest ever sanctions” as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
The unilateral withdrawal prompted Iran a year later to gradually roll back key parts of its nuclear program in retaliation.
During the latest round, Iran presented two sets of proposals with one focusing on the removal of US sanctions and the other on the return of Iranian nuclear activities within the limits set by the JCPOA.
At the weekend the United States, which is not directly participating in the Vienna talks, as well as the European parties accused Iran of back-tracking.
A senior US administration official said the proposals “walked back any of the compromises that Iran had floated” during the previous six rounds of negotiations.
The US threatened to pursue “other options” if diplomacy failed.
A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also on Monday rejected Iran’s proposals as unacceptable but added that Berlin is willing to follow a diplomatic path on the issue but time is running out.
“We reviewed the proposals ... carefully and thoroughly, and concluded that Iran violated almost all compromises found previously in months of hard negotiations,” she said, according to Reuters.
The spokeswoman added that the proposals were “not a basis for a successful end to talks,” urging Tehran to come up with “realistic proposals”.
But Amir-Abdollahian denied that Iran’s proposals, as the West claims, were excessive. “Our demands are fully in line with the JCPOA.”
He said the Iranian delegation is striving to achieve favorable progress in order to lift the sanctions “through solid and strong negotiations”.
The top diplomat noted that Iran does not see a “temporary deal” as a “good deal”.
“A good deal must be inclusive in a way that the Iranian nation would benefit from the JCPOA and the removal of the sanctions in a tangible way,” said Amir-Abdollahian.
Iran and the P4+1 are expected to reconvene within days.
‘Blame game’ rejected
Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran will return to Vienna to resume talks based on the draft proposals it submitted last week.
“Our texts are fully negotiable,” Khatibzadeh told a news conference about the draft proposals, adding that the other parties “want to play a blame game”.
“We are waiting naturally to hear the other side’s opinion concerning these texts and whether they have a real (counter) offer to make to us in writing,” Khatibzadeh added.
Asked to comment on remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said that Iran does not seem to be serious in the Vienna talks, Khatibzadeh said that the US is in no position to make such claims.
A country “that is not a member of the JCPOA, that has stopped all of its commitments, that has made every effort in recent years so that no one remains compliant with the JCPOA, and that has punished those who honored the deal is in no position to make such remarks,” he said, according to Press TV.
“The US, rather than playing some sort of a blame game to shirk its responsibility, should return to the easier way and return to its commitments under what they signed in 2015.”
He also railed against Israel, saying the regime opposes any dialogue in the region and constantly creates distractions and artificial issues against Iran through international forums.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett last week urged the participants in the Vienna talks to “take a strong line” against Iran “and make it clear to Iran that they cannot enrich uranium and negotiate at the same time”.
“Iran must begin to pay a price for its violations,” Bennett insisted.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said it is no secret that Israel has opposed the JCPOA from the very beginning, lamenting the “bitter reality” that Israel itself possesses nuclear warheads and is under no international supervisory regime whatsoever.
He asserted that such statements by Israel are completely baseless, and also “the person who makes them is dishonorable”.