EghtesadOnline: The United Nations encouraged all parties involved in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal to redouble their efforts to move together toward reimplementation of the agreement, said spokesman for the secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric.
Negotiations have been underway since April in Vienna, Austria, to work out how the United States and Iran can resume compliance with the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Washington quit the JCPOA in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions that prompted Tehran to scale down its commitments in reaction.
The Vienna talks were suspended after six rounds in June due to a change of government in Iran and restarted on Monday with a new delegation from the more conservative government in Tehran.
The seventh round, however, broke off until next week, as parties needed to consult with their capitals about Iran’s proposed documents.
The UN spokesman said this development would not suggest that the window for solving this issue peacefully is coming to an end.
“We’re not going to make the jump from the talks having ended the way they are to a situation not being dealt with through diplomatic terms,” Dujarric told a press briefing on Friday, the world body’s website reported.
In this round of talks, the new Iranian team proposed two draft documents on sanctions-lifting and nuclear steps, which included modifications to the text that was negotiated in previous rounds and that European officials had said was 70-80% complete.
European countries expressed “disappointment and concern” in a statement, saying Iran was demanding “major changes”.
“Over five months ago, Iran interrupted negotiations. Since then, Iran has fast-forwarded its nuclear program. This week, it has back-tracked on diplomatic progress made,” France, Germany and Britain contended, according to Reuters.
It is “unclear how these new gaps can be closed in a realistic time frame,” they added.
In response to European criticism, Iran’s top negotiator Ali Baqeri said the European side can propose their own drafts for discussion.
“There is no problem if the Europeans also provide drafts, and they can be discussed, but they must be based on principles approved by both sides,” he told state television.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserted that Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what is necessary to return to compliance, “which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna.”
“If the path to a return to compliance with the agreement turns out to be a dead-end, we will pursue other options,” he added, without elaborating.
Iran’s uncompromising stance is that since Washington left the deal, it should make the first move by lifting at once all sanctions imposed on Tehran since then in an effective and verifiable way.
It also demands guarantees by the US and its western allies that no new sanctions would be imposed on Iran in future.
Russia’s representative said on Twitter, however, that disappointment seems to be premature, because as per the rules of multilateral diplomacy, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Mikhail Ulyanov also told reporters in Vienna that amendments are technically always possible and a change in the position is “normal practice”.
“But, however, it is desirable that such amendments ... do not turn into a roadblock to progress,” he said, according TASS.
He stressed in his tweet that changes need to be calibrated in a way conducive to the task of making further progress.
China’s envoy Wang Qun said after the Friday meeting that dialogue should be continued so as to “explore and expand consensus” by focusing on the text and proposals on it, even though there are still differences.
He said although a breakthrough is far from being achieved, the progress made this week should not be underestimated, since the talks helped other parties to increase their understanding of the position of Iran’s new government.
“China hopes that each party’s consultation with their own governments during the adjournment of the talks until next week will inject new political impetus into the negotiations,” Wang was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
He also said Beijing will continue to firmly support the resumption of the process and will try to play a unique and constructive role working with all parties for achieving results at an early date.