In Moscow, senior Iranian, Russian diplomats discuss ties, sanctions removal talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran's chief negotiator to the Vienna talks Ali Bagheri Kani (C) and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov (L) meet in Moscow on December 7, 2021. Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali also attends the meeting. (Photo by IRNA)

Senior Iranian and Russian diplomats have discussed the latest developments regarding mutual relations and the recent round of talks held between Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries in the Austrian capital of Vienna aimed at removing US sanctions against Iran.

Iran’s chief negotiator to the Vienna talks Ali Bagheri Kani held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Moscow on Tuesday, as Tehran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal — officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — ended the seventh round of talks in Vienna last week.

The two sides stressed the importance of continuing bilateral consultations on international issues and future talks between Iran and the P4+1.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally 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.

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

The US administration of President Joe Biden had voiced willingness to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.

After a five-month hiatus, envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — began on November 29 the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital Vienna to resurrect the JCPOA.

The five-day intensive negotiations ended on December 3 after the diplomats returned to their capitals for more consultations.

During the discussions, Iran submitted two proposed drafts to the other parties concerning the removal of sanctions and Tehran’s nuclear commitments, saying a third draft is on the way as well.

Iran and the five powers plan to resume the Vienna talks on Thursday. According to reports, Bagheri Kani and EU deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora set the date during a phone conversation on Monday.

In an interview with Italy’s ANSA news agency, which was published on Sunday, Bagheri-Kani said the Islamic Republic would not backtrack on the demands it has put forth during the seventh round of talks with the P4+1 group of countries.

He added that since the United States had illegally quit the JCPOA, it is for Washington to take the first step to end the current situation surrounding the accord.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Monday that Ryabkov and Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali discussed the Vienna negotiations.


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