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EghtesadOnline: A more "transparent" atmosphere has been created in diplomatic efforts aimed at saving the 2015 nuclear deal, but Iran is still waiting for practical steps by Europe, a senior official said on Monday.

In a press briefing in Tehran, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi described Sunday's emergency meeting with parties to the Iran nuclear agreement as "constructive" and “a step forward". 

"The atmosphere has become a little more transparent for continuation of the work [to ease tensions]. If some small agreements are reached, a foreign ministerial meeting will be held, which would be a positive step. We are still waiting for practical and tangible actions by the Europeans with regard to the nuclear accord," he was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency. 

The remaining signatories to the agreement—Britain, Germany and France plus Russia and China—met Iranian officials in Vienna for talks called in response to an escalation in tensions between Iran and the West, which included confrontations at sea and Tehran's decision to reduce its compliance with the nuclear deal, according to Financial Tribune.

The parties have been trying to salvage the pact—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—since the United States withdrew from it in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran. However, their efforts to protect trade with Iran against the US sanctions have yielded nothing concrete so far. 

Following the extraordinary meeting, the European Union said participants reaffirmed their "continued commitment" to preserving the agreement.

"They recalled that both nuclear commitments and sanctions-lifting are essential parts of the agreement," read a statement published by the European External Action Service. 

Fu Cong, director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who led the Chinese delegation, said all parties want to safeguard the accord and continue to implement it in a "balanced manner". 

"All sides have expressed their strong opposition against the US unilateral imposition of sanctions," Fu was quoted as saying by Reuters. 



Right Direction 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said after the meeting that discussions on how to save the nuclear deal are making progress, TASS reported. 

"In principle, everything proceeds in the right direction, including the launch of the INSTEX vehicle," he said, referring to a European payment system for trade with Iran designed to circumvent US sanctions.

Russia's Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov was also quoted as saying by TASS, "It is obvious that the US sanctions are undermining the nuclear deal." 

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said European officials made "more serious" remarks at the meeting but added that Tehran will continue to scale back its nuclear commitments if Europe fails to fulfill its obligations. 

On prospects of dialogue with the United States, Mousavi said talks would be possible if they are based on an agenda that could lead to "tangible and practical" results. 

He added that a precondition for dialogue is that both sides remain committed to the outcome of negotiations. 

"So far, we have not received such a signal from the current US administration." 

Mousavi said Iran does not see any "sincerity" in US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's offer to travel to Tehran for talks and to address the Iranian people. 

This is a "defensive move" by American officials in response to remarks by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his recent visit to New York in which he addressed the US public, Mousavi told reporters.


Europe Iran nuclear deal nuclear talks Transparency Diplomatic Efforts Abbas Mousavi practical steps