Vienna talks positive, forward-moving: Iran’s chief negotiator

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani leaves the Palais Coburg, venue of the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting, in Vienna, Austria, on December 27, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Tehran’s chief negotiator says the talks with the P4+1 group of countries in Vienna, Austria on the removal of sanctions the United States imposed on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal from the landmark 2015 agreement are “positive and forward-moving.”

Ali Bagheri Kani made the remarks while speaking to reporters before heading for talks with representatives of the five remaining signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the deal.

He added that efforts were underway to achieve results from the talks.

Iran and the five remaining signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — resumed talks in Vienna on Monday after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year.

The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all US sanctions. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.

During the previous round of the talks, the first under Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table to help the talks move forward and later criticized the European signatories of the JCPOA for failing to follow suit and remaining passive.

The Iranian chief negotiator has said the success of the Vienna talks depends on achieving an agreement on the effective removal of the cruel US sanctions against Tehran.

The more serious the other side is in removing sanctions and accepting Iran’s mechanisms for doing so, especially on the verification and guarantee issues, the sooner we can reach an agreement, Bagheri Kani added.

Iran says the sanctions should be removed in a verifiable manner and wants the US to give a guarantee that it will not abandon the deal again.

Talks advancing slowly but steadily: Russia envoy

Meanwhile, the Russian chief negotiator to the Vienna negotiations Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet that the talks between Iran and the five countries “continue to advance slowly but steadily.”

“During the 7th round of the # ViennaTalks comments varied (unjustifiably, to my mind) from negative to skeptical thus creating atmosphere not conducive to making progress,” Ulyanov, who serves as the Russian ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, added.

He said that the sides “need to be more objective.”

Iran, South Korea deputy FMs to meet in Vienna

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told IRNA on Wednesday that Bagheri Kani, who serves as Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, is scheduled to meet with his South Korean counterpart in Vienna.

“The presence of the [South] Korean Foreign Ministry official in Vienna is a personal decision and the third parties request to be present in Vienna due to bilateral and multilateral issues,” Khatibzadeh added.

He said that the meeting would be held upon the request of the South Korean official, emphasizing that such meetings have nothing to do with the Vienna talks between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries.

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