Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says Tehran is ready to resume the stalled talks with the P4+1 group of countries in Vienna to revive the 2015 deal that the US abandoned in defiance of international criticism.
Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a joint press conference with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in Tehran on Saturday as the bloc seeks to break an impasse between the parties to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), over the agreement's revival and the removal of sanctions against Iran.
"We are ready to resume the Vienna talks within the next days," Iran's top diplomat said.
He expressed hope that the US would "this time" pursue a "realistic and fair approach" and act responsibly.
Iranian officials do not directly negotiate with Americans as the United States unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions against Iran. During the talks in Vienna, which have been on hold since mid-March, US negotiators communicated with Iranians through European intermediaries.
The Iranian foreign minister said he held "detailed, precise and deep" talks with Borrell on the JCPOA revival negotiations, adding, "We are going to break the stalemate in the Vienna talks and end the tension that has existed in recent days."
Pointing to his recent phone call with Borrell, Iran's foreign minister said the country "always welcomes the path of diplomacy" and "result-oriented talks."
"What is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that it should completely enjoy all the economic benefits [stipulated] in the 2015 agreement," Amir-Abdollahian said, emphasizing that the country would not accept anything that would possibly affect the issue.
Referring to Israel's acts of sabotage with respect to the JCPOA revival talks, he said, "We do not brook provocative measures of the fake Israeli regime."
"Iran would not stand idly by in the face of the threatening moves of the Zionist regime, including its destructive measures in the talks about the Islamic Republic's peaceful nuclear program," the foreign minister pointed out.
Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018.
In quitting the agreement, Trump unleashed what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.
In recent months, Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the protraction of the talks, as a number of key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.
Meanwhile, in a recent politically-motivated decision backed by Israel, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors passed a resolution, proposed by the US and the three European parties to the JCPOA – Britain, France, and Germany, accusing Tehran of failing to fully cooperate with the UN nuclear agency.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami has slammed the UN nuclear agency for politicizing the country’s peaceful nuclear program under the Israeli regime’s pressure regardless of Tehran's extensive cooperation with the IAEA.
Eslami said Iran did not expect at all that such a resolution would be passed under the influence and political pressure of the Israeli regime.
Comprehensive relations between Iran, EU
The Iranian foreign minister further said he held "long but positive" discussions with Borrell on comprehensive cooperation between Iran and the EU, emphasizing, "The Islamic Republic of Iran seeks balanced relations in [its] foreign policy with the world. The European continent has an important position for us."
The top Iranian diplomat added that maintaining and expanding relations with all European states, both EU member states and non-EU countries, are among Tehran's priorities in pursuing relations with Europe.
He expressed hope that Iran and European states would witness the improvement of relations in light of bilateral talks and the continuation of discussions with Borrell.
Vienna talks to resume in days: EU's Borrell
Borrell, for his part, said talks on reviving the JCPOA will resume soon in the coming days.
"We are expected to resume talks in the coming days and break the impasse. It has been three months and we need to accelerate the work. I am very happy about the decision that has been made in Tehran and Washington," the top EU diplomat said.
He said that the talks will resume "quickly" and "immediately" in an effort to "solve the last outstanding issues."
He added that a deal with Iran should ensure that Tehran will reap "full benefits, full economic benefits of the agreement," while addressing the concerns of the international community about non-proliferation.
The EU foreign policy chief was speaking after a two-hour meeting with the Iranian foreign minister.