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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow Calls for Timely Resumption of Vienna Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal

Sputnik News

20210912
Ilya Tsukanov

Iran and the United States carried out several rounds of negotiations on the reactivation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement which Washington unilaterally walked out on in 2018, this past spring and early summer. The last discussions took place in June, before presidential elections in Iran.

Russia is calling for the timely resumption of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal, and is pleased that the European Union's position on the JCPOA's implementation is aligned with Moscow's view, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to international organisations in Vienna, has indicated.

"Pleased to note that on these points Russia and [the] #EU are like-minded. We welcome the results of [International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael] Grossi's visit to Tehran. We call for an earliest resumption of #ViennaTalks on [the] restoration of [the] #JCPOA", Ulyanov tweeted Sunday.

The diplomat accompanied his post with a tweet by Enrique Mora, deputy chief of the European Union's foreign service, who praised the IAEA and Iran's nuclear energy agency over their agreement to continue cooperation and to allow inspectors to service video equipment installed to monitor activities at Iran's nuclear sites.

"This is a positive step towards ensuring continuity of knowledge of Iran's nuclear programme. Gives space for diplomacy. I appreciate the efforts. EU's aim remains full #JCPOA implementation by all. For that it's crucial we resume #ViennaTalks as soon as possible", Mora wrote.

Grossi and Mohammad Eslami, Iran's newly-appointed nuclear chief, met in Tehran on Sunday, with Iran agreeing to continue IAEA servicing of surveillance cameras at the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear sites.

The agreement comes ahead of a meeting of the Vienna-based IAEA board of governors on 13 September. Western powers led by the United States have proposed censuring Iran over its "lack of cooperation" with international inspectors.

Iran threatened to halt IAEA inspections of its nuclear sites in February unless the crushing sanctions against the country were removed. A three-month agreement was passed on 21 February to continue some checks, and prolonged in May. However, since 22 May, Iran has denied the IAEA access to data collected from nuclear facilities. At the same time, the nuclear watchdog has expressed "concerns" over Iran's continued uranium enrichment and stockpiling activities.

The Vienna nuclear talks, which began in the spring amid the Biden administration's stated interest in returning to the JCPOA, have been stalled since late June. Iran has repeatedly indicated that it would return to the limits on its nuclear programme outlined under the JCPOA if the United States lifted its crushing sanctions first. Washington has demanded that Iran be the first to return to compliance, and its negotiators have sought to include Iran's conventional missile programme and regional policy in the agreement. Tehran has vigorously rejected such efforts.

Late last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed Biden over his administration's intransigence on the Vienna talks, accusing the current White House of acting "extremely shamelessly" on the nuclear issue and being "no different" from the Trump administration.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi assured Khamenei that his government would support nuclear talks to "guarantee national interests", but stressed that Tehran would not engage in talks for the sake of talks, particularly amid Washington's efforts to try to add non-nuclear-related obligations to the JCPOA.

The Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018 amid heavy lobbying pressure by Israel. Iran provided the agreement's remaining signatories a one-year window to find a way to keep the deal in place by establishing a mechanism to evade severe US banking, energy, and other sanctions. When this failed to occur, Tehran began to increase its uranium enrichment and stockpiling beyond the limits outlined in the JCPOA, while emphasising that its nuclear programme is and will continue to be strictly peaceful in nature.

© Sputnik



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