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Iran to focus on removal of ‘tyrannical, illegal’ US sanctions in Vienna talks, says top negotiator

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs and lead negotiator in Vienna talks on US sanctions removal, Ali Baqeri-Kani, speaks in an exclusive interview with IRIB News Agency in Vienna, Austria, on November 28, 2021.

Iran’s top negotiator says complete and verifiable removal of “tyrannical and illegal” sanctions imposed by the United States serves as the primary goal of the Islamic Republic’s return to the forthcoming round of negotiations with the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has entered the talks with a strong will and elaborate preparations in order to ensure the removal of unlawful and cruel sanctions,” Ali Baqeri-Kani, Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said in an exclusive interview with IRIB News Agency in Vienna.

“The composition of the Iranian delegation shows Tehran’s determination and seriousness to take steps to ensure the removal of the bans imposed by Americans against the Iranian nation,” he said.

Baqeri-Kani expressed hope that the discussions would play an effective role in helping Iran achieve such a purpose.

He also said that the Iranian diplomats have already held meetings with some representatives of the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – ahead of the Vienna talks.

“The main focus and priority of the Vienna negotiations will be on the removal of sanctions. The duration of the talks, therefore, cannot be forecast as of now,” Baqeri-Kani said when asked about the possible duration of the new round of talks in the Austrian capital.

He noted that the future perspective of the talks will be discussed by various delegations when the negotiations open on Monday evening, adding that the framework and timing of the Vienna talks would be determined subsequently.

Baqeri-Kani left Tehran for Vienna on Saturday to attend the seventh round of talks that are intended to bring the US back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

A return to the JCPOA would mean Washington needs to remove its unlawful sanctions on Tehran.

Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

The US administration of Joe Biden had said it is willing to undo Trump’s wrongs and rejoin the landmark deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.

Tehran insists that all sanctions must first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.

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