Russia's ambassador to international organizations in Vienna says despite problems that surround multilateral negotiations in the Austrian capital on removal of anti-Tehran sanctions as per the 2015 nuclear deal, there is no other acceptable alternative but to take negotiations to a successful end.
Mikhail Ulyanov made the remarks in a Monday tweet in response to a freelance Vienna-based journalist who claimed that “the mood among negotiators is somber if not outright gloomy.”
“Count #Russia out, please. We are fully aware of all the problems at the #ViennaTalks but remain cautiously optimistic,” Ulyanov said.
The Russian negotiator in Vienna talks added that despite all the problems that surround the talks, Moscow still believes that there is “no reasonable and acceptable alternative to a successful conclusion of the talks on #JCPOA.”
Count #Russia out, please. We are fully aware of all the problems at the #ViennaTalks but remain cautiously optimistic. The reason for this cautious optimism is very simple: we have no reasonable and acceptable alternative to a successful conclusion of the talks on #JCPOA. https://t.co/7nZHQP39ic— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) November 29, 2021
Ulyanov’s remarks came as Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal were about to launch a new round of negotiations in the Austrian capital, in an attempt to break a deadlock over 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Envoys from Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are in Vienna for the seventh round of discussions. 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.
Iran has already clarified that the talks will not focus on nuclear issues, noting that those issues were already been resolved through negotiations, which led to the conclusion of the JCPOA.
The Islamic Republic says it will not settle for anything less than removal of all US sanctions at once and in a verifiable manner. Tehran has also called on the other parties to make the most of the occasion, warning that the window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely.
The United States unilaterally abandoned the multilateral nuclear deal 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.
The US withdrawal came while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had issued 15 consecutive reports verifying Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with IRIB in Vienna, Iran’s top negotiator said 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 negotiations with the P4+1.
“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.
Achieving agreement in Vienna talks possible: Ulyanov
Also on Monday, Ulyanov sat for an exclusive interview with Iran’s official IRNA news agency before the beginning of negotiations in Vienna.
“I firmly believe that achieving an agreement is possible in this round of negotiations,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that he is quite optimistic about the new round of talks in Vienna.
Ulyanov warned that all parties taking part in the Vienna talks must try to move in a direction that would lead to the success of talks, because any other route would lead to disaster and have dangerous consequences.
“Therefore, it is our duty to avoid threats and negative consequences and overcome them, so that, negotiations [in Vienna] will end in success,” he added.
Ulyanov noted that he believes Americans are serious about removing sanctions imposed on Iran, saying, “I believe that Americans are ready to remove a number of sanctions, especially such important sanctions as economic bans and in particular those imposed on Iran’s oil sector.”
🎙 @Amb_Ulyanov 🇷🇺 gave an interview to 🇮🇷 @IRNA_1313 on today’s resumption of #ViennaTalks.— Russian Mission Vienna (@mission_rf) November 29, 2021
🎙 Постпред России 🇷🇺при МО в Вене М.И.#Ульянов дал интервью 🇮🇷 «Информационному агентству Исламской Республики» о возобновлении сегодня переговоров по #СВПД. pic.twitter.com/ibicKAQAHV
In return, he added, Iran is expected to rapidly reverse remedial measures it has taken to reduce its commitments under the JCPOA and return to full implementation of the nuclear deal.
Asked about media reports about the US Plan B in case of the Vienna talks' failure, the Russian lead negotiator said he believes that the Americans are not fully ready for a Plan B because this issue is still under discussion.
However, diplomatic efforts are still a priority, Ulyanov emphasized, noting that there is still an opportunity to solve all problems, including sanctions.
Ulyanov said if the sanctions are removed, Iran's economy can thrive, adding that he is not willing to speak about alternatives to Vienna talks at the current juncture.