“What is currently taking place in Vienna is indicative of efforts made by all parties in order to reach a sustainable deal … In Vienna, the focus is on four issues: Sanctions removal, guarantees, verification, and nuclear matters,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a weekly press briefing in Tehran.
Khatibzadeh said the talks have reached a point that would determine whether the other side is serious or not, Press TV reported.
While noting the “good progress” made in all of the aforementioned issues, Khatibzadeh stressed that Iran alone cannot maintain the pace of the negotiations; the other side should speed up its efforts as well.
“It is not acceptable that the other side would move at the speed of a turtle, while we move at the speed of light,” Khatibzadeh stated.
The official underlined that Tehran is looking for “a durable and reliable deal” out of the talks, and no accord that falls short of such criteria is on the agenda of Iran’s negotiators.
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – resumed talks in Vienna on January 3 after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the deal with Iran.
The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all sanctions that the United States imposed on Iran following its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) three years after the deal was inked.
During the previous round, the first under Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table and later criticized the European parties for failing to do the same.
‘Neither optimistic nor pessimistic’
In his Monday press briefing, Khatibzadeh said that Iran remains neither optimistic nor pessimistic regarding the prospects of the talks.
“We negotiate realistically and report to people realistically,” he said, in a veiled reference to the constant change of tone on the part of the United States and its European allies regarding the talks.
He said while the opposite side previously sought to extract concessions through a media misinformation campaign, it has now realized that such an approach is futile and is now focusing on the Vienna talks.
“We must all work to ensure that the United States’ return to the JCPOA is accompanied by the necessary guarantees and verification,” Khatibzadeh said. “The removal of sanctions should also be carried out effectively in accordance with the JCPOA. Such issues cannot materialize through an interim agreement.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman noted that the ongoing Vienna talks are merely aimed at bringing Washington to full and verifiable implementation of its obligations under the 2015 agreement.
“We have never demanded anything beyond the JCPOA during our negotiations in Vienna, and will never accept such matters to be raised and discussed,” he said.
Khatibzadeh also noted that Iran and the United States have expressed their viewpoints on the removal of sanctions in a verifiable manner and on firm assurances that no future US administration would be able to make a mockery of the deal and international regulations by withdrawing from it again.