Vienna talks aim to restore original JCPOA; nothing more, nothing less: Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia's Ambassador to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov speaks to journalists outside the Grand Hotel Wien after the closed-door talks in Vienna, June 20, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Russia’s lead negotiator at the Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran says the ongoing negotiations aim to restore the agreement in its original form, nothing more and nothing less.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, made the remarks in a tweet on Friday, asserting earlier statement by his Iranian counterpart Kazem Gharibabadi, who said Tehran would not allow the Vienna talks to feature irrelevant issues.

In an interview published on Ayatollah Khamenei’s official website,, on Wednesday, the Iranian permanent ambassador to Vienna-based international organizations said the European parties to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “still consider the nuclear agreement to be a bridge enabling their interference in irrelevant issues such as Iran’s missile work and its regional affairs.”

“The purpose they seek through this is to start addressing these [irrelevant] issues [on various occasions] and consider them to be indivisible parts of the nuclear deal, and [therefore] lay the groundwork for their interference in these areas,” Gharibabadi wrote.

He reflected on a warning issued by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Wednesday, during the Leader’s last meeting with the outgoing Iranian administration’s officials, about the West’s intention to use the JCPOA to enable interference in the Iranian affairs.

During the meeting, the Leader cited the administration’s experience of dealing with the West on the issue of the nuclear agreement as an important case in point that had clearly shown “trust in the West does not work and will not work [in the future either].”

In his tweet, Ulyanov urged all the parties to the JCPOA not to deviate from the main objective of the Vienna talks and to stop efforts to add something new to the deal.

“Indeed, the agreed goal of the #ViennaTalks is to restore the original #JCPOA. Nothing more and nothing less. ALL participants should take care of not creating - even non-intentionally - impression that they deviate from this common goal and try to add something new to the deal,” the senior Russian diplomat tweeted.

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

The deal was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 in spite of Iran’s full compliance with its contractual obligations.

Washington then began to put enormous pressure on Iran through sanctions, in what it called a “maximum pressure” policy, in order to force Tehran to negotiate a “better deal.”

Now President Joe Biden, who was the vice president of the United States when the deal was inked, has promised to re-enter the JCPOA and abandon Trump’s “failed” maximum pressure campaign.

The Vienna talks began in early April with the aim of reviving the JCPOA by bringing all original parties, especially the US, back into compliance with the deal, three years after Washington withdrew from the accord and tried to sabotage it.

So far, six rounds of negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital, as a result of which, according to participants, “significant progress” has been made in the course of the “constructive” and “businesslike” talks.

However, disagreements have persisted over a number of issues, including how to sequence the US sanctions removal, with Tehran arguing that since Washington was the party that violated the terms of the agreement, it should take the first step back into compliance with the deal by removing its unilateral sanctions.

Abbas Araqchi, a deputy Iranian foreign minister, who leads the country’s delegation to the talks, said earlier this month that the talks have to allow time space for the pending democratic transition in Tehran to take its own course.

“We're in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is underway in our capital,” Araqchi said.

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