P4+1 firm determination, practical readiness to remove sanctions key to successful talks in Vienna: Iran top negotiator

Iran’s top negotiator says the forthcoming talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna will succeed if the P4+1 group of countries have a “firm determination” and stand “practically” ready to bring about a removal of the United States’ sanctions against Iran.

Ali Baqeri-Kani, who serves as Iran’s deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, made the remarks in a tweet on Thursday, following meetings with resident ambassadors in Tehran, ambassadors of the Persian Gulf states and ambassadors of Mediterranean and East European countries on Wednesday.

 Baqeri-Kani said following those meetings, “I stated that success of the future talks depends on other side’s ‘firm determination’ & ‘practical readiness’ to ‘remove sanctions.’”

The United States unilaterally abandoned the multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018 despite Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear undertakings, as repeatedly certified by the UN nuclear agency. The US then unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which practically deprived the country of all of the deal’s economic benefits.

Iran fully honored its nuclear obligations for an entire year, after which it decided to ramp up its nuclear work as a legal “remedial measure” against the US violation of the deal and the abject failure on the part of the other signatories, the E3 in particular, to safeguard its benefits.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29. The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held its presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of discussions held under the previous administration.

The US administration of Joe Biden has said it is willing to rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure. Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before it reverses its remedial measures.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said last week that Tehran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA can reach a “good agreement in a short time” only in case of a “serious and positive” approach to the upcoming talks.

“The Islamic Republic has no intention to be locked in the stalemate remaining from the previous negotiations…I believe that if the opposite sides enter in the Vienna [talks] with a serious and positive approach, it will be possible to achieve a good agreement in a short time,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a post on Instagram.

Iran, Russia diplomats discuss upcoming events

Meanwhile, Russia’s lead negotiator at the Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a post on his Twitter on Wednesday that he has held talks with Iran’s Chargé d'affaires to International Organizations in Vienna Reza Ghaebi.

He added that the two sides discussed a range of “important” issues, including a planned visit by Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi to Iran next week, session of the IAEA’s Board of Governors and the resumption of the Vienna talks.

The spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi, said the UN nuclear agency’s chief would arrive in Tehran on Monday.

He added that Grossi would hold talks with the Iranian foreign minister and the AEOI Head Mohammad Eslami on Tuesday, noting that the visit would take place in line with cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.

Grossi’s trip comes just before next week’s meeting of the 35-nation Board of Governors.

The IAEA chief paid a one-day visit to Tehran in September and held talks with the AEOI head.

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Eslami described the negotiations centering on technical issues as “constructive” and said “confidence-building” is what matters for Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog.

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