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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Top negotiator: Iran will not allow attritional talks in Vienna, will exit if other sides not serious

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 25 April 2021 3:23 PM

Iran's top negotiator in Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal says Tehran will not allow negotiations to take long, and will leave the talks if it feels the other parties lack seriousness and only seek to buy time or wish to add other issues to the talks.

"One cannot predict a specific deadline [for the talks], but we will not let the negotiations become attritional," Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday, echoing earlier remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, after attending a meeting of the Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy on the ongoing talks that began early this month in the Austrian capital.

"At the same time, we are not in a rush, because there are serious issues being discussed during the talks, which need to be carefully examined," said Araqchi, who also serves as Iran's deputy foreign minister for political affairs.

Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are currently involved in ongoing discussions to save the deal. The JCPOA has survived almost three years of unilateral US sanctions on Iran, which in turn prompted Tehran to reduce its own commitments in a legal move under the accord.

The US, which withdrew from the deal in 2018, is also in talks with the JCPOA participants, except for Iran. The talks have so far failed to lead to concrete results as the US insists on pushing its own narrative with regard to several issues – including which sanctions need to be removed – into the talks.

The US is also pressing for a step-for-step removal of the sanctions, which has been rejected categorically by Tehran.

Araqchi: Step-for-step plan discarded a long time ago

Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi underlined that a step-for-step plan for the removal of US sanctions on Iran has been discarded a long time ago, saying that Iran rejected the proposal long before the talks began.

"The step-for-step plan is not a matter of discussion at all in the current talks... Tehran's position is completely clear," Araqchi said, adding that the US sanctions must be removed first, followed by Iran's verification of the sanctions removal, and only then, Iran will return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

"We have insisted on this issue and the representatives [of other parties to the JCPOA] were fully briefed in this regard," the senior diplomat said.

Iran's top negotiator said, "There are challenges ahead of the talks. Of course, we are now on a path, which can bear fruit, but it is early to say whether we would be able to overcome all challenges and hurdles. Therefore, I cannot say that we are optimistic or pessimistic, but we are not desperate and stick to our duty."

An informed source also told Press TV on Saturday that Iran's policy with regard to the sanctions has not changed, meaning that the country rejects a step-for-step removal of the bans.

"Iran, as it has repeatedly emphasized, does not accept any plan based on the notion of a step-for-step [sanctions removal] and has no such thing on the agenda," the source, who is close to the Iranian negotiating team, told Press TV on Saturday.

The remarks came after US State Department Ned Price said the administration of President Joe Biden's proposals on the issue are based on the principle of compliance for compliance.

However, the informed source told Press TV that Iran would stop its "remedial actions" only after it can verify that all the sanctions have been removed.

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