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EghtesadOnline: A new round of negotiations on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal will begin on Monday with a meeting of the Joint Commission in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Representatives of Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China will attend the meeting which is to be chaired by European Union envoy Enrique Mora, according to the European External Action Service.  

The Vienna talks aim to work out how the United States and Iran can return to full compliance with the agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Washington quit the accord in 2018 and reimposed tough sanction on Tehran, which responded by scaling back its commitments.

The remaining parties have been shuttling between the two since April and have held seven rounds of indirect negotiations so far, the last of which ended on Dec. 17. 

Iran saw a change of government and engaged in the latest round with a new delegation which put forward two proposals, including reforms to previously agreed drafts. 

Western parties reacted with dismay at first and suspended the process for a few days, but eventually reviewed the proposals and achieved some progress on the final days of the talks. 

“In the recent round of talks, after two stages of negotiation, we managed to reach a single draft and agenda and this was an important progress,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday. 

He said in difficult and challenging discussions with JCPOA parties, the Iranian team could get the verbal approval of all sides for inclusion of Iran’s views in the draft that will serve as the basis of future talks.   

“We pursue current talks in Vienna with seriousness and good faith, with a view to reaching a good agreement and expect the other sides to engage with the same approach,” the foreign minister said.



Unconstructive Role 

Amir-Abdollahian said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and his deputy Mora, who coordinates the Vienna talks, are playing a positive part.

He, however, criticized the three European countries for failing to offer any new initiative in this round and described their position, including that of France, as “unconstructive”.

“We expect the French side to play a constructive role and help uphold whatever concerns the rights of Iran in this round of negotiations,” he said.

The top diplomat stressed that the other parties must implement their commitments completely so that Iran can enjoy the benefits of the JCPOA. 

Referring to western countries’ claims about Iran’s nuclear advancements, Amir-Abdollahian said if they seek to address their concerns about the country’s peaceful nuclear program, they must remove all JCPOA-related sanctions.

“The other sides, including the Europeans, must have no doubt that we would not accede if they seek to offer one concession and win 10 from us,” he emphasized. 

 He expressed appreciation for the full support and the logical stance of the Russian and Chinese sides. 

The US also sends unwritten messages to the meetings sometimes and receives the required responses, according to the foreign minister. 

Washington has been displaying pessimism about negotiations with the new Iranian team, with officials in the White House hinting at preparations for other options in case diplomacy fails. 

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the talks are “not going well,” although admitting that the final few days have brought modest at the negotiating table. 

He told reporters on Wednesday that the US and its partners are discussing timeframes. 

“We’re not circling a date on the calendar in public, but I can tell you that behind closed doors, we are talking about timeframes and they are not long,” he said during a visit to Israel, adding that timeline would be within “weeks”. 

Iran has declared that it would not accept artificial deadlines and would negotiate for as long as needed. It also maintains that the US is in no position to issue ultimatums for Iran and the remaining parties as it has already abandoned the deal. 


JCPOA Vienna Diplomats