Iran, P4+1 announce pause in Vienna talks on JCPOA revival
Iran Press TV
Friday, 11 March 2022 3:23 PM
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries have announced a pause in the Vienna talks on a possible revival of the 2015 Iran deal, with Tehran saying that all relevant parties will concentrate on a "successful conclusion" of the diplomatic process.
The pause was first announced in a tweet on Friday by the European Union's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, who said the break was needed due to what he called "external factors."
"A final text is essentially ready and on the table," Borrell said, adding that he and his team will be in contact with all the five parties to the 2015 deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the US to "overcome the current situation and to close the agreement."
Replying to Borrell's tweet shortly afterwards, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the pause in the Vienna talks could provide a "momentum" for resolving any remaining issues and a "final return" to the negotiations.
"Successful conclusion of talks will be the main focus of all [the parties involved]," Khatibzadeh tweeted.
He, however, said "no external factor" can affect the parties' joint will "to go forward for a collective agreement."
Following the announcement, Iran's chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani left Vienna for Tehran.
Iran FM: Deal at hand if US adopts realistic approach
In turn, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also said in a tweet on Friday that he had held "useful and constructive" talks with Borrell, and that efforts were underway for achieving a "good, strong and lasting" agreement.
"An agreement is at hand if the US side behaves realistically," the foreign minister said. "It is collective agreement based on wisdom, and not a unilateral approach, that decides the outcome of the Vienna talks."
The US unilaterally left the 2015 Iran deal in 2018, and restored the sanctions that had been lifted under the accord. Washington's European allies in the dealâ€”France, Germany, and the United Kingdomâ€”have been toeing the sanctions line closely by ending their trade activities with Iran.
The Vienna talks began last April between Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA â€”Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China â€” on the assumption that the US, under the Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former president, Donald Trump, against Tehran.
Iran says it won't settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.
EU coordinator hopes Vienna talks can resume 'very very soon'
Meanwhile, Enrique Mora, the European Union's coordinator for the Vienna talks, told media that the negotiators "have to pause and return back to capitals" at the current moment.
"The result is that we are almost there, we are in a text in which almost everything is done. I would tell you that we are at the limit of negotiating footnotes, so you can imagine how advanced we are, and that is precisely, in order to maintain, to keep this spirit, this good spirit, this good atmospheric, it is better to pause," Mora said.
He vowed to work with all delegations to overcome the situation "the sooner the better, and come back and end our negotiations successfully and I think I hope it will take very very soon."
The EU diplomat praised the United States and Iran, in particular, for to their "very constructive, very positive approach."
Attempts to blame Russia are dirty games: Ulyanov
Russia's lead negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov dismissed as "dirty games" the attempts to put all the blame for the prolongation of the talks on Moscow, saying his country is in favor of a final agreement at the "earliest."
He was responding to speculation that a set of new Russian demands from the US was hindering the negotiations.
"We are in favor of earliest conclusion of the talks and we are doing our best but I repeat once again the conclusion does not depend on Russia only, objectively there are others who need to settle their issues between themselves," he told reporters.
Russia promised to respond in few days on Iran guarantees: EU official
A senior EU official said on Friday that Russia has promised to give a response within a few days over the question of the guarantees it has asked for in the Vienna talks after being told that its demands for economic guarantees would not be accepted.
"They are thinking about that reaction and in the meantime we cannot advance," Reuters cited the unnamed official as saying. "It has said it will respond in a question of days. We cannot continue like this."
The EU official also said that there were still some technical issues between Iran and the US that needed to be resolved before finalizing an agreement, but did not foresee huge problems.
They were related to how sanctions would be lifted rather than which sanctions, the official said.
China hopes for continuation of dialog: Envoy
For his part, the Chinese lead negotiator to the Vienna talks expressed regret over the pause and said Beijing hoped that continued dialog and negotiation will be pursued, which is "the only way for a solution."
Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, added that his country had always believed that the "concerns of all parties need to be looked at very expressly."
He noted that China would continue to be working with all the JCPOA parties to "push for an agreement on this deal."
"Though not entirely but basically in terms of the text I think something is there with gradually evolving consensus though final touches need to be done. We'll be coming back in just days," he added.
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