Iran and the five remaining parties to the 2015 deal have continued intensive diplomatic talks in the Austrian capital aimed at securing the removal of all sanctions that the United States imposed on Tehran following the former's unilateral withdrawal from the agreement three years after its conclusion.
On Monday, Iran's lead negotiator to the Vienna talks Ali Bagheri Kani and Enrique Mora, the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief and head of the Joint Commission of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as well as representatives of the three European signatories to the agreement held separate meetings.
Bagheri Kani, who also serves as Iran's deputy foreign minister for political affairs, began his Monday talks with a meeting with the Russian chief negotiator and ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov.
He also held talks with lead negotiators of China.
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – resumed talks in Vienna on January 3 after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.
The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all sanctions that the United States imposed on 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.
One year after Washington’s exit from the deal and the failure of the European signatories to uphold their commitments under pressure from the US, Iran took a set of retaliatory steps away from the deal in several stages in line with its legal contractual rights.
With a new administration in office in the US, Washington says it wants to rejoin the deal, but it has been dragging its feet in removing the sanctions on Iran.
Tehran has been firmly insisting that the US must first remove the sanctions in a verifiable manner, give guarantees that it will not leave the agreement again, and compensate for all the damages inflicted on Iran due to Washington's unlawful pullout.
Speaking in a televised interview whose text was published on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said it is possible for negotiating parties in the Austrian capital to reach a good agreement in the shortest possible time if there is serious will on all sides.
Iran’s top diplomat said, “If there is serious will, we will be able to reach a good agreement in the shortest time, and as of today, we believe that negotiations are positive and moving forward.”
Russia envoy meets Mora, new head of German delegation at Vienna talks
In separate tweets, the Russian lead negotiator to the Vienna talks outlined his meetings with the head of the JCPOA Joint Commission, the Iranian chief negotiator and new head of the German delegation.
Met today with the #EU Coordinator at the #ViennaTalks Mr. Enrique Mora. We had an in-depth discussion of possible ways and means to expedite negotiations on restoration of #JCPOA and #sanctions lifting. pic.twitter.com/RlIfMlFoYr— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 10, 2022
Ulyanov tweeted that he had an "in-depth discussion" with Mora on possible ways and means to expedite negotiations on restoration of the JCPOA and the removal of sanctions.
Pointing to his meeting with Bagheri Kani, the senior Russian diplomat said in another tweet that they "exchanged views and assessments on the whole spectrum of contentious issue that need to be settled to ensure restoration of the JCPOA and sanctions lifting."
Met today with the head of the delegation of #Iran at the #ViennaTalks Dr. A. Bagheri Kani. We exchanged views and assessments on the whole spectrum of contentious issue that need to be settled to ensure restoration of #JCPOA and sanctions lifting. pic.twitter.com/JKHx90okuc— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 10, 2022
Ulyanov further welcomed the new head of the German delegation at the Vienna talks, Tjorven Bellmann, and tweeted, "Looking forward to productive cooperation!"
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters following a meeting with his American counterpart on Ukraine-related tensions between Washington and Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said chances for agreement on with Iran have increased.
Chinese envoy: US should remove sanctions imposed on Iran, third parties
The Chinese envoy to the Vienna talks said on Monday that the United States should remove all sanctions inconsistent with the JCPOA, including those that have been applied to China.
"Amb. WANG Qun, at today's Joint Commission meeting of the #JCPOA, stressed that dialogue & negotiations are the only right way to solve the #Iran #nuclear issue, & the US should lift all sanctions, inconsistent w/ JCPOA, against Iran & 3rd parties, including #China," China's permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations said on Twitter.
1/4 Amb. WANG Qun, at today's Joint Commission meeting of the #JCPOA, stressed that dialogue &negotiations are the only right way to solve the #Iran #nuclear issue, & the US should lift all sanctions, inconsistent w/ JCPOA, against Iran & 3rd parties, including #China. pic.twitter.com/Vh07frz642— Permanent Mission of China in Vienna (@ChinaMissionVie) November 29, 2021
The Chinese envoy added that his country has always been committed to upholding the JCPOA and has worked hard to promote the early resumption of the Vienna negotiations.
2/4 Wang welcomed Dr. Bagheri, Iranian Deputy FM to lead delegation to #Vienna for negotiations of restoration of compliance w/ #JCPOA. Wang said #China has always been committed to upholding the JCPOA & has worked hard to promote the early resumption of the above negotiations. pic.twitter.com/ZbIJZl2Xj2— Permanent Mission of China in Vienna (@ChinaMissionVie) November 29, 2021
He added that China will continue to practice genuine multilateralism and participate in the next phase of negotiations in a constructive manner to promote the early achievement of results in the ongoing Vienna talks.
4/4 WANG: #China will continue to practice genuine #multilateralism, participate in the next phase of negotiations in a constructive manner, and work with all parties to promote the early achievement of results in this negotiation.— Permanent Mission of China in Vienna (@ChinaMissionVie) November 29, 2021