Iran’s top negotiator: Vienna talks participants agree that negotiations should focus on sanctions removal

Iran's chief negotiator in Vienna talks on removal of anti-Iran sanctions, Ali Baqeri-Kani (file photo)

Iran’s top negotiator to Vienna talks on the removal of anti-Iran sanctions says all participants in the first meeting of the seventh round of talks have agreed that removing sanctions must be the main focus of negotiations.

Ali Baqeri-Kani made the remark while talking to reporters following the end of the first meeting of the nuclear deal's participants in the Austrian capital on Monday.

Baqeri-Kani said he was optimistic after the first meetings in Vienna, adding that all parties agreed that focus of the talks should be lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran after the US unilateral withdrawal from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He added that the participants also agreed that a special working group should start its work on Tuesday to discuss "the removal of illegal and brutal sanctions" imposed on the Iranian nation.

"I believe that this is a great achievement that all member states of the P4+1 group accepted Iran's rightful request and emphasized that the state of the US regime's illegal sanctions against our people must be clarified first and then other issues be discussed," Iran's top negotiator said.

Baqeri, who also serves as Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, said guarantees should be given to Tehran that no new sanctions will be imposed on the country.

“During the meeting, we emphasized that the main factor behind the current conditions is actions taken by a country, which left the agreement in violation of the accord and the United Nations Security Council resolution [that upheld it], and also reinstated past sanctions [on Iran] in contravention of international laws and regulations while imposing new sanctions as well,” Baqeri-Kani said.

Envoys from Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – ended the first meeting of the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on Monday. 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.

Russia's lead negotiator says Monday Vienna meeting 'started quite successfully'

Russia's lead negotiator to the Vienna talks says the first meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission was held "quite successfully" as the participants agreed to take "further immediate steps".

"The meeting of the Joint Commission on #JCPOA is over. The participants agreed on further immediate steps during the seventh round of negotiations which started quite successfully," Mikhail Ulyanov said in a post on Twitter.

In a tweet prior to the start of the new round of the talks in the Austrian capital, the Russia's ambassador to international organizations in Vienna said despite problems that surround multilateral negotiations on the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions as per the JCPOA, there is no other acceptable alternative but to take negotiations to a successful end.

Ulyanov 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.”

Vienna talks were positive, Tehran engaged seriously: EU coordinator

Meanwhile, the European Union's official chairing the Vienna talks said for his part on Monday that he was positive after the first discussions in Vienna between P4+1 and the new Iranian negotiators who showed a desire to engage seriously.

Speaking to reporters, Enrique Mora said Iran insisted on its demand that all sanctions should be lifted.

He noted that while there was a sense of urgency, there was no fixed timeline for the process.

In a Monday article, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the main goal pursued in the new round of Vienna talks is removal of all sanctions imposed on Tehran, adding that the Islamic Republic will not accept any requests beyond the scope of the deal.

“The main goal of these negotiations is the restoration of the rights of the Iranian nation and removal of all the sanctions imposed unilaterally and extraterritorially on Iran by the United States, which is no longer a party to the JCPOA,” Iran’s top diplomat added.

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