Tehran Stands Firm on Demands in Negotiations on JCPOA Revival
EghtesadOnline: Tehran is set to maintain its previous positions in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s top negotiator said as the seventh round of negotiations resumed on Thursday after an interval.
“These positions will continue to be the Iranian delegation’s resource for carrying on the talks,” Ali Baqeri told reporters after a Joint Commission meeting, IRIB News reported.
Iran is engaged in negotiations in Vienna, Austria, since April, which aim to work out how the United States and the Islamic Republic can resume compliance with the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Tehran has exceeded the JCPOA’s nuclear limits in response to Washington’s unilateral exit and illegal reimposition of sweeping sanctions.
It now demands the removal of all sanctions at once in a verifiable manner before reversing those steps.
Negotiations were suspended in June after a change of government in Iran, but restarted in late November in the Austrian capital, where the new Iranian team presented proposals, including reforms to previous drafts.
“What Iran proposed last week reflected its views on the June 20 draft,” Baqeri said.
The proposals drew criticism by western countries who said Iran was demanding major changes to previously agreed documents.
Participants requested a break last Friday so as to consult their capitals and resumed the process on Thursday with a meeting of the remaining parties who shuttle between Tehran and Washington.
Iran made clear that it is seriously continuing the talks based on its previous position, according to Baqeri.
The chief negotiator, however, sounded more upbeat, saying: “What I felt today was different from what I had felt last Friday. I felt other parties have more serious will to enter effective and result-oriented talks.”
He told reporters after the meeting that Iran is serious about reaching an agreement if the ground is paved, adding the fact that all sides want the talks to continue shows that all parties want to narrow the gaps.
The negotiating parties agreed to continue discussions on Iran’s proposals at political and expert levels.
Sense of Purpose
Speaking to reporters, Enrique Mora, the European Union’s coordinator for the talks, said the sides “don’t have all the time in the world.”
“What I felt this morning was from ... all delegations a renewed sense of purpose in the need to work and to reach an agreement on bringing the JCPOA back to life,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Russia’s representative described the Thursday meeting as “rather short and constructive.”
“The participants observed a number of important commonalities in their positions, including with regard to the need to finalize the #ViennaTalks on restoration of #JCPOA successfully and swiftly,” Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter.
He said the talks will proceed from drafts elaborated by the end of the sixth round, but the new Iranian ideas must be properly discussed and thoroughly considered.
“This is an edict in multilateral diplomacy.”
The US special envoy for Iran said restoring the nuclear pact is still possible, adding its revival remains in the “mutual interest” of both countries.
“We’re fully committed to a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA. We think there’s still time to do it if Iran comes back and says they’re prepared to roll up their sleeves and do it, too,” Robert Malley said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
He stressed that the US is privileging the path of diplomacy as the best way, but Iran will have to decide.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that US President Joe Biden has asked his team to be prepared in the event that diplomacy fails.
“If diplomacy cannot get on track soon, and if Iran’s nuclear program continues to accelerate, then we will have no choice but to take additional measures to further restrict Iran’s revenue-producing sectors,” she said at a press briefing.
She added that the US has made clear to Iran that the only path out of sanctions is through nuclear compliance.