May 28, 2022

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Foreign Ministry spokesman: Dead-ends are resolvable in Vienna talks

Foreign Ministry spokesman: Dead-ends are resolvable in Vienna talks – Tehran Times

TEHRAN— Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that dead-ends in Vienna are not unsolvable.

Speaking at his weekly press briefing, Khatibzadeh said that senior negotiators from Iran and three European countries had returned to the capitals for further consultations and during this time the expert meetings were ongoing.

He went on to say that the focus of the meetings was on “four main texts on various issues”.

The four steps includes sanctions removal, verification of steps that each side must take, technical issues and guarantees.

He added, “Many tables have been prepared and the columns of these tables are also ready and some of the parentheses have been cleared and agreements have been reached and agreements on ideas have been done to a great extent and are being converted into sentences and words.”

Khatibzadeh noted that what remains are important issues that specifically require tough political decisions, and Washington in particular must announce its decisions on the sanctions-removal and the remaining issues, some of which are serious.

He said, “If these things happen when the delegations return to Vienna, we can say that we are reaching a stable and reliable agreement with good speed.”

Regarding the request of 110 U.S. lawmakers to the Biden administration to leave the Vienna talks, he said that the United States domestic policy is their own and Iran will not comment on it. 

“The three guarantees Iran is seeking is that the U.S. won’t mock the international system again, and that no government in the U.S. will use the JCPOA mechanisms against the deal, and the assurances that will guarantee Iran’s benefit.”

“We do not recognize any other government in the United States, and that is the definitive responsibility of the United States in fulfilling its obligations under the 2015 nuclear pact and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, and to this day the United States has stubbornly waived its obligations under this resolution,” the diplomat noted.

According to the spokesman, significant differences remain in Vienna, and the most important difference is the inadequate speed of the other parties, especially the United States, in presenting initiatives.

He continued, “Iran in various issues has the authority and the ability to help resolve issues, and has done so with good speed. Significant progress has been made in technical issues, but regarding the lifting of sanctions, talks are subject to political decisions that has unfortunately been delayed by the other side. The initiatives that were necessary were still not presented by the other side and most of them were listeners and sometimes the progress that was achieved was due to the actions of Iran.”

Regarding the meetings of the working groups on sequencing of steps according to the need that arises, Khatibzadeh said discussions are held on various topics, and in all four texts, meetings and discussions are needed. 

He then went on to advise U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to do what helps to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. 

“I advise the secretary of state to make every effort, and if he has the initiative, to bring this plan A to bear fruit. Plan B is not to the liking of the U.S., and Blinken knows better than anyone that every country has a plan B for itself, and maybe Iran’s plan B is not very attractive for them,” he remarked. 

The diplomat also said that the current U.S. president and his foreign policy team and negotiators in Vienna know that if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is still alive, it is because of Iran, not because of the United States, which has left the deal. 

“They tried to destroy the JCPOA immediately (after their withdrawal in 2018), so if they have forgotten, the global community will not forgot this.” 

According to Khatibzadeh, the U.S. continues to follow the same wrong path, and as long as Iran does not see a change in the behavior of the U.S., it cannot say that the two sides have reached a point where a stable and reliable agreement is available.

Khatibzadeh continued, “The communication between Iran and the United States is through the written texts exchanged informally via Enrique Mora.” 

Enrique Mora from the European Union is coordinator of the talks in Vienna.

“We gave (our suggestions) and received the points we wanted and we will continue this route and this route will continue as long as it is needed. The course of the dialogue is now very clear,” he reiterated.

He then went on to criticize the E3 countries (France, UK, and Germany), saying that sometimes the European troika forgets that they are members of the JCPOA and are not representing the U.S. in Vienna. 

“The P4+1 and Iran are in talks to make sure that the United States, which did its best to eliminate the JCPOA and put all its maximum pressure on it, will reach a point where it will fulfill its obligations, and also take a disciplinary approach to the Europeans countries that want to have normal relations with Iran,” he said.

The diplomat added that France can take a constructive approach if it distances itself from blame games.

“France knows that the talks take place in the negotiation room and the issues are quite clear… One of these issues is the inaction and cooperation of the three European countries with the United States in imposing sanctions. Unfortunately, both France and the other two European countries have been on Washington’s side to date in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.”

Khatibzadeh also stated that Iran will strongly stick to its red lines in reaching an agreement. 

“The agreement that Iran is seeking has two characteristics: to be reliable and stable, and these two have been said to the other side in the negotiation rooms. The three guarantees Iran is seeking is that the United States will not mock the international system again, and that no government in the United States will use the JCPOA mechanisms against the deal, and the assurances that will guarantee Iran’s benefit. In any agreement, these must be these assurances,” he noted.

He continued by saying that at the negotiation table, Iran has clearly stated its demands. 

Khatibzadeh concluded his press briefing by saying that the talks are on the right track and there is no unresolved impasse, and political decisions must be made. 



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