Iran is demanding its rights in the talks in Vienna over the 2015 nuclear deal, not a “gift” from the United States, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday of the paused negotiations aimed at reviving the tattered accord.
“The United States is not giving a gift to Iran. It has violated the rights of, and picked the pockets of, the Iranian nation. It must return them,” Khatibzadeh told reporters at a weekly press conference in Tehran.
He said the US failure to make a decision about Iran’s key demands has brought the talks to a halt.
“I don’t call it an impasse. A decision by Washington can easily result in a deal in Vienna,” the spokesman said.
The comments came a day before a visit by Enrique Mora, the European Union’s coordinator for the Vienna talks, to Tehran.
“The agenda for talks in Tehran is nearly finalized,” Khatibzadeh said.
Mora will meet with Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani.
The 2015 deal, known as the JCPOA, was agreed between Iran, China, Russia, the United States, Britain, France, and Germany.
But the US unilaterally withdrew in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump and reimposed tough sanctions, prompting Iran to begin rolling back its own commitments a year later, AFP wrote.
Talks in Vienna have focused on bringing Washington back into the deal and lifting its sanctions, while ensuring Tehran’s full adherence to its own commitments.
Iran and the United States have been engaged in negotiations only indirectly, exchanging views through Mora.
“Mora’s trip moves the talks in the right direction,” Khatibzadeh said, noting that messages are “constantly exchanged between Iran and the United States via the European Union”.
The Vienna talks have been stalled since March. Among the key remaining sticking points is Iran’s demand that Washington delist its Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from a US terror list.
But Khatibzadeh said that the media “must not reduce the issues between Iran and the United States to a single issue, such as the IRGC”.
“If the United States decides today to respect the rights of the Iranian people, we can go to Vienna after Mora’s visit and sign the agreement,” he said.
In an interview with the Financial Times published on Saturday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he was seeking a “middle way” to bridge the remaining gap between Tehran and Washington.
Borrell is considering a scenario whereby the designation is lifted on the IRGC, but kept in place on other parts of the organization, the FT reported.