EghtesadOnline: Parties to the 2015 nuclear deal met on Tuesday in the Austrian capital Vienna to discuss ways of fully implementing the agreement amid pressure by the United States to finally unravel the accord it left two years ago.
The regular meeting of the Joint Commission was held at the level of political directors after a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who was in Vienna to attend the commission meeting, said this gathering is of special importance, given Washington’s efforts to revive the previous resolutions of the United Nations Security Council against Iran to destroy the landmark deal.
“I hope the Joint Commission can reach a consensus on how to proceed and how to counter US efforts to ruin JCPOA,” he said in an interview with state television ahead of the meeting, IRNA reported.
Araqchi used the abbreviation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the deal between Iran and the six world powers, from which the US withdrew in 2018 and restored tough sanctions on Tehran.
Under the accord, Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for the lifting of UN sanctions, including the arms embargo that is set to expire in October as per the terms of the deal, as well as UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorsed it.
The US moved to extend the arms ban indefinitely through a UN resolution, but the bid was rejected by the security council on August 24.
Washington then went ahead with its threat to trigger the return of all UN sanctions on Tehran using a mechanism foreseen in the deal known as “snapback”, arguing that UNSCR 2231 still names it as a participant.
An overwhelming majority of UNSC member states, including the remaining JPCOA parties, have objected to the move, saying the US is no longer a party to the deal and is not entitled to use its provisions.
Araqchi said the US is in fact targeting multilateralism by attempting to tear down the nuclear deal.
“The world will be watching how the international community will stand up to US unilateralism and how the JCPOA Joint Commission will react to these measures,” Araqchi said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said on Monday that the tension around the Iranian nuclear issue has been mounting because of a series of actions the US has taken unilaterally and illegally against the international rejection.
“The JCPOA has come to a crucial juncture,” he said, hoping that all parties will take the Joint Commission meeting as an opportunity to firmly safeguard the deal and faithfully implement Resolution 2231.
Russian Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov had also said earlier that “the nuclear deal participants have a lot of topics to discuss”.
He also said in a tweet on Tuesday that the meeting is attended by “real [not self-proclaimed] participants” of the nuclear deal.
The top diplomat also held bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event, including with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi.
Schallenberg stressed in his meeting that all JCPOA signatories need to stick to their commitments under the deal he described as “the most effective way to prevent an arms race in the Middle East”.
“Austria will stay involved to make efforts toward rebuilding trust in the region,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Araqchi said his meeting with the IAEA chief was in line with the implementation of the joint statement issued during Grossi’s visit to Tehran last week.
The UN nuclear watchdog had urged Iran to allow access to two former sites it suspected of nuclear activity. Iran had argued that the request was based on inadmissible intelligence.
During last week’s visit, Tehran agreed to voluntarily provide IAEA with access to the two locations and the UN agency assured that it will not raise further questions to Iran and make further requests for access to locations other than those declared by Iran under its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and its Additional Protocol.