0420 GMT June 30, 2022
Washington has not yet submitted any practical and reliable initiative about providing Tehran with guarantees that the succeeding U.S. governments would not abandon the nuclear deal again and no new sanctions would be imposed on Iran, said the Iranian foreign minister.
Making the remarks in an interview with CNN on the sidelines of the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in southern Germany, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian added several issues, which are among the Islamic Republic’s redlines, have still remained unresolved in the talks in Vienna on the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IRNA reported.
Expressing optimism about the outcomes of the negotiations in the Austrian capital, he, however, said we are upbeat about the part of the talks that pertains to Iran as President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi’s administration is seriously determined to reach a good and immediate agreement in Vienna.
Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Iran has made numerous efforts over the past weeks to reach a good agreement, noting, “Now, I can say we have never been so close to a good agreement.”
The top Iranian diplomat added to get close to a good agreement, the Islamic Republic’s negotiating team has put forward many initiatives and demonstrated great flexibility, emphasizing now, the time has come for the United States and the Western sides to submit their initiatives and show flexibility.
Amir-Abdollahian noted that the Western side’s initiative and flexibility can help bring the negotiations to fruition within less than a few hours or a few days.
He said although U.S. President Joe Biden seeks to, through mediators, show Tehran he has goodwill, and U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, demonstrates flexibility at the negotiating table, the Americans are the ones who have disrupted the implementation of the JCPOA and, thus, are now required to accept the responsibility of what they have done by showing the required flexibility if they seek the talks to lead to an absolute agreement.
The foreign minister emphasized Iran maintains that all issues, including the nuclear ones and those pertaining to the sanctions removal, must be resolved as one package.
He said regarding all parties’ return to the JCPOA, it is not accepted that Iran both accepts the strict verification system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and at the same time sees some of its issues placed on the agenda of the IAEA’s Board of Governors.
“In 2015, we resolved all issues pertaining to [the IAEA’s] safeguard agreements in a political agreement with the other sides and can implement the same model at present. I have announced the same thing to the German foreign minister [Annalena Baerbock] in my talks with her.”
He said Iran holds that if under the present critical and sensitive circumstances in the Vienna talks, the United States and other Western sides do not act realistically, the negotiations will definitely end in failure.
On the possibility of direct talks between Tehran and Washington, Amir-Abdollahian noted that a high wall of mistrust is between Iran and the United States.
He noted that in response to the messages sent by American officials through different channels for possible direct talks with Iran on the sidelines of the MSC, “I explicitly announced that the Americans must change their behavior.”
The minister added while Biden speaks of goodwill, it has, on three occasions, imposed new sanctions against Iranian legal and natural persons, saying it means that he is following his predecessor Donald Trump’s suit although he signals willingness to return to the JCPOA.
“We cannot understand this paradox in [U.S.] words and actions.”
‘Close to finish line’
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, said in a Tuesday tweet, it appears that the negotiations in Vienna are about to “cross the finish line”.
His tweet read: “Met with the #EU Coordinator at the #ViennaTalks Mr. Enrique Mora. Exchanged views on the current state of affairs. Apparently the negotiations on restoration of #JCPOA are about to cross the finish line.”
Confirming the same thing on the same day, European Union deputy foreign policy chief Mora wrote in a Twitter post: “#JCPOA #ViennaTalks are at a crucial moment. We are nearing the end after ten months of negotiations. The result is still uncertain. Key issues need to be fixed. But all delegations are fully engaged. Intense work in Coburg.”
The United States left the JCPOA in 2018 and began to implement what it called the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, depriving the country of the economic benefits of the agreement, including the removal of sanctions, for which Iran had agreed to certain caps on its nuclear activities.
In the meantime, the other parties to the deal, in particular the E3 group of France, Britain and Germany, only paid lip service to safeguarding Iran’s economic dividends as promised under the JCPOA, prompting Iran – after an entire year of “strategic patience” – to reduce its nuclear obligations in a legal move under the deal.
The Vienna talks began last April on the assumption that the United States, under Biden’s administration, is willing to repeal the so-called “maximum pressure” policy pursued by Trump.
Tehran says it will not settle for anything less than the removal of all U.S. sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again, stressing that a “good deal” will be reached in the Austrian capital only if Tehran’s legitimate demands are full met and the Islamic Republic’s redlines not crossed.