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Tehran says nothing less or more than US sanctions removal is acceptable

The Coburg Palais, the venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting, is pictured in Vienna on November 29, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Tehran has ruled out the introduction of new commitments in the ongoing talks with the remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal in the Austrian capital, saying nothing less or more than the removal of sanctions is acceptable.

“Whatever is taking place in Vienna is intended for the removal of sanctions. Neither will we accept anything less, nor will take on any nuclear commitments beyond what has been stated in the JCPOA,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told IRNA on Tuesday, using the 2015 nuclear deal’s official acronym, which stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

He stressed, “Subjects like step-by-step negotiations and new commitments have no place in our dialogues.”

Khatibzadeh said the Islamic Republic of Iran has entered the Vienna talks with a strong will and dispatched a fully prepared delegation to Austria to ensure the removal of US sanctions.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA began the talks in Vienna in April with the aim of removing Washington’s unlawful sanctions against the Islamic Republic after the US voiced interest to return to the agreement.

The talks were paused after Iran’s presidential election in June and resumed on Monday.

Talks may be ‘on right track’

In his remarks, a day after the resumption of the Vienna talks, Khatibzadeh said the negotiations can be said to be “on the right track.”

Of course, he continued, provided that “the other side sincerely intends to work towards the removal of sanctions rather than wasting time, extending the duration of the talks, or inventing childish excuses.”

Former US president Donald Trump left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed 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.

The US administration of Joe Biden had said it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining the sanctions as a tool of pressure.

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

US must remove all sanctions: Iran nuclear chief

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) also said that the Vienna talks seek the United States’ return to the nuclear deal, emphasizing that Washington must remove all the sanctions that it has slapped on Tehran.

“The removal of the sanctions has to be practical and verifiable,” Mohammad Eslami highlighted.

On Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Baqeri-Kani, who is in Vienna for a new round of talks on the removal of anti-Iran sanctions, said all participants in the negotiations have agreed to focus on the need to remove the bans.

The top Iranian negotiator made the remarks on Monday, after the first meeting of the nuclear deal’s participants under Iran’s new administration of Ebrahim Raieisi.

Baqeri-Kani said he was optimistic after the first meetings in Vienna, adding that all parties agreed that the focus of the talks should be on the removal of the sanctions.

He added that the participants also agreed that the 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 could be discussed,” Iran’s top negotiator said.

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

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