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EghtesadOnline: There is collective will among all participants to return to negotiations on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria, an Iranian senior diplomat said.

“This needs preparations as some delegations need to consult their capitals,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on the sidelines of an event in Mashhad on Sunday, Fars News Agency reported. 

It is not certain when the talks will resume, he added. 

Indirect negotiations have been underway between Iran and the United States since April to work out how both countries can resume compliance with the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Iran began exceeding the deal’s limits in response to the US unilateral exit in 2018 and reimposition of sweeping sanctions.

After 11 months of negotiations, the talks were halted once again on Friday at the request of the European Union coordinator of the JCPOA Josep Borrell, who said a break was needed due to “external factors”. 

He did not specify what factors, but is thought to have been referring either to a set of US reportedly new conditions or Russia’s demand for immunity from Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its conflict in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had a phone conversation with Borrell prior to the pause, in which he had accused the US for making maximalist demands. 

“Iran has declared that all demands will be reviewed within the framework of Vienna talks,” Khatibzadeh said.

He said negotiators have not been able to wrap up the talks chiefly because the US has wasted months, not replying to Iran’s demands and negotiating positions. 

“The talks would have been concluded much earlier had the US provided answers faster,” he said. 

Iran also has red lines on which it refuses to make compromises, according to the diplomat. 

He said the Iranian team have a specified agenda and are not set to write a new JCPOA. 

“The delegation are there to ensure that if the US is returning to the JCPOA, it does so this time in a way that the written and promised benefits in the deal are provided,” he said. 



Definition of “All” 

Borrell had said that “a final text is essentially ready and on the table,” and that he would continue to be in touch with all JCPOA participants to overcome the current situation and close the agreement.

Khatibzadeh said the negotiators are not at the exact point of reaching an agreement, in which case the Foreign Ministry would have announced. 

“We are not at that point [of reaching an agreement] at the moment over at least one or two issues,” he said. 

Iran demands the removal of all sanctions that prevent the country from enjoying economic benefits, but the conflict is over the definition of “all”, according to Khatibzadeh. 

The US has presented three lists of sanctions, a green, a yellow and a red one, he said. 

The green list includes a set of sanctions they agree to remove and the yellow one consists of negotiable bans, but the red list contains restrictions that they refuse to lift or discuss, such as those imposed on non-nuclear grounds such as missile activity, human rights, regional polices and such, he explained. 

“All negotiations in this regard have been aimed at saying that we do not accept and recognize this red list,” he said. 

Another difficult topic of negotiation has been over gaining assurances about the quick reversibility of the country’s nuclear program, so that Iran can preserve its achievements, Khatibzadeh said. 

A major guarantee that Iran demands, according to the diplomat, is that it suspends or narrows its nuclear program in a way that it can rebuilt what it has today in the shortest possible time should the US violate the JCPOA once again. 

Iran also demands verification of sanctions lifting to make sure the US decision is enforced in practice. 

Khatibzadeh said this issue has been almost completely resolved. 

He said once an agreement is reached, it will be publicized. 

“The very text of the deal will be published on the website of the Foreign Ministry.”


JCPOA Vienna Talks