President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi said on Friday his government’s efforts to render US sanctions on Iran ineffective were not tied to ongoing talks between the Islamic Republic and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.
“Although the pursuit of removing sanctions is a serious agenda of the government, the efforts of the government to neutralize the sanctions are not dependent on the talks,” Raeisi tweeted, as Iran and the P4+1 countries – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – were engaged in talks to revive the nuclear pact, known as the JCPOA.
The talks resumed in late November under the Raeisi administration after a five-month hiatus with the aim of bringing the United States back to compliance after its 2018 unilateral withdrawal that saw former president Donald Trump reimposing and reinforcing “toughest ever” sanctions on Iran.
The sanctions targeted Iran’s oil exports, petrochemical and metal industries and banking system among other sectors.
Raeisi said despite sanctions Iran’s oil sales “have increased so much that we no longer worry and the proceeds are also returning to the country”.
Russia said Friday it was “optimistic” over "real progress" made at negotiations in the Austrian capital.
"There's has been real progress… There's real desire – primarily between Iran and the United States – to understand specific concerns and how these concerns can be considered in the general package" of documents, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Lavrov underscored that "it could only be a package solution," just like the nuclear deal itself, TASS reported.
"They are making good progress at the moment, touch wood. We think they will come to an agreement," he added.
Russia’s negotiator at the Vienna talks warned of provocations of JCPOA opponents as talks advanced.
“As we move ahead at the Vienna talks, the JCPOA opponents become more active and provocative in the public space. Regrettable and senseless,” Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet.
Ulyanov added that an “absolute majority of states,” including JCPOA parties seek the restoration of the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions.
After a rocky start, Iran said Monday that the talks had seen "relatively satisfactory progress". However, the United States said that there were only "a few weeks left" to save the accord.
“We still believe that if we can get back in the weeks ahead – not months ahead, weeks ahead – to the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement, that would be the best thing,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.
Blinken again threatened that the US and its allies would be “looking at other steps, other options” if the talks collapse.
Iran has time and again reiterated that Iran wants the JCPOA to be restored to its original format and that the US, as the violator of the deal, must remove all its sanctions at once and in a verifiable way before rejoining the pact.
Tehran also demands assurances that US governments will not ditch the JCPOA again in the future and stresses that it will not give any concessions beyond the terms of the 2015 agreement.