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Iran Press TV

Top negotiator: Iran serious about sanctions removal talks in Vienna, sticks to its declared positions

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 09 December 2021 2:52 PM

Iran's top negotiator in Vienna talks on the removal of sanctions imposed on the country says the Islamic Republic is serious about taking part in the negotiations in the Austrian capital, but insists on the positions it declared during previous meetings.

Ali Bagheri Kani made the remarks following the end of a meeting of Iran's nuclear deal's joint commission meeting in the Austrian capital on Thursday, which marked the resumption of the talks six days after they were paused.

"Iran underlined that it seriously continues the talks based on its previous position," the Iranian lead negotiator told reporters on Thursday, adding, "Iran is serious about reaching an agreement if the ground is paved .... The fact that all sides want the talks to continue shows that all parties want to narrow the gaps."

Iran and the other five remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement initiated the seventh round of the Vienna talks on November 29, five months after they were paused, to work out ways to revive full compliance with the agreement and restore the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to its full capacity, which would require the US to undo its "maximum pressure" campaign against the Islamic Republic.

The talks had begun in early April, but were dragged on due to Washington's refusal to remove the sanctions imposed under former US president Donald Trump with the intention of killing the JCPOA.

After the Thursday meeting, Bagheri Kani said the participants, including Iran, presented their views on the process of upcoming meetings.

Iran's top negotiator underlined the country's resolve to bring the talks into fruition, saying, "The Islamic Republic of Iran does not see any obstacle to reaching an agreement if the necessary ground is provided."

Asked whether the other parties responded to Iran's proposals, which were put forth last week under two draft texts, the lead Iranian negotiator said the issue needs to be pursued through the meetings of the working groups, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported.

The two draft texts address, separately, the removal of US sanctions and Iran's nuclear actions. Iran says it is preparing a third draft text on the verification of the sanctions removal.

Bagheri Kani also slammed as unconstructive and detrimental Washington's announcement of new sanctions against Iran while the Vienna talks are underway.

Iran's negotiator added that several delegates of the P4+1 member states had also objected to the US move in imposing new sanctions on Iran, urging Washington to refrain from such moves, which can ruin the atmosphere of the talks.

He noted that removal of sanctions will lead to a major breakthrough in the talks.

Iran began to do away with some of its nuclear obligations in a legal move under the JCPOA, which grants the compliant party the right to suspend its commitments in case of non-performance by the other side.

Following Iran's proposals, Bagheri Kani said Tehran's core demands, as presented in the draft texts, "cannot be rejected" and that Iran "will not backtrack on [those] demands."

EU welcomes renewed sense of purpose among delegations to reach agreement

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission talks said for his part that he saw renewed will on all sides, including Iran, to reach an agreement, but that would now be tested as envoys go into details in the days ahead.

"What I felt this morning was from ... all delegations a renewed sense of purpose in the need to work and to reach an agreement on bringing the JCPOA back to life," EU deputy foreign policy chief, Enrique Mora, said after the meeting.

Mora added, "We are not starting from scratch. We are starting from very solid work done over a number of weeks by all delegations... At the same time i insist there is a sense of urgency in getting an agreement and obviously as time goes by this sense of urgency is more acute and imperative. We have to really focus harder on the task ahead."

The EU official noted, "All delegations have committed to stay as necessary to reach an agreement.... All delegations have said very clearly they are here to work ... until we get [an] agreement and then we will try to do so in coming days."

The talks resumed two days after the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities, with Iran censuring the bans as a manifestation of Washington's lack of seriousness and goodwill.

Since the beginning of the talks, Iran has insisted on the primacy of the removal of US sanctions, maintaining that the US is fully responsible for the current situation.

Iran has also stated that the US needs to provide guarantees that it will not exit the deal again.

Russia: JCPOA commission meeting short but constructive

After the end of the new meeting of JCPOA participants on Thursday, Russia's lead negotiator at the talks described the meeting as "short" and "constructive," stressing the necessity of finalizing the talks swiftly and successfully.

"The meeting of the Joint Commission is over. It was rather short and constructive," Mikhail Ulyanov wrote in a tweet.

"The participants observed a number of important commonalities in [their] positions, including with regard to the need to finalise the #ViennaTalks on restoration of #JCPOA successfully and swiftly," he added.

Ulyanov also told Russia's TASS news agency that during the Thursday meeting "we succeeded to do away with certain misunderstandings, which had led to tension. All parties reaffirmed their commitment to making constructive efforts [to revitalize the JCPOA]."

He added that all participating delegations, including the Iranian delegates, agreed for the first time that negotiations should continue on the basis of documents drafted during the first six rounds of talks, noting that those texts will be taken as a starting point for agreement on the elements of a future accord.

Ulyanov noted that all relevant drafts have been made ready, stressing that as long as an agreement has not been reached on everything, nothing has been agreed.

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