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Iran FM: Negotiators bent on safeguarding economic, nuclear interests in Vienna talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the negotiators will rigorously observe the country’s red lines during the ongoing talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which was abandoned by the United States three years after its conclusion.

Addressing a number of Iranian lawmakers on Friday, Amir-Abdollahian added that the country’s right to enjoy the economic benefits of the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is another important issue that will be observed in the negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

He also stressed that Iran’s negotiating team pays serious attention to the country’s right to safeguarding its peaceful nuclear capability, technology, and knowhow.

The Vienna talks started in April last year with the participation of the remaining parties to the deal — Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany. While the parties noted progress in multiple rounds of talks, the indecisiveness shown by Washington has prevented any significant breakthrough.

Last month, the negotiations were hosted in the Qatari capital of Doha in a different format, with Tehran and Washington holding indirect talks mediated by the European Union. Those talks also failed to produce any tangible result due to the excessive demands of the US.

After several months of impasse, the Vienna talks resumed on Thursday as Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani met with the European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief, Enrique Mora, while saying in a tweet that the US must “seize the opportunity” to return to the deal.

Atmosphere of Vienna talks serious: Russia’s Ulyanov

Russia’s top negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov on Friday described the atmosphere of the ongoing negotiations in Vienna as serious and said the time passage would determine the outcome of the talks.

Ulyanov, who serves as Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, told IRNA before a meeting with his Iranian counterpart that the situation is not completely clear but apparently, all parties are reaching a consensus on the final text.

He added that it may not be very easy to reach the finish line “and time will tell if we succeed or not.”

In a post on his Twitter account, Ulyanov said he held “productive” talks with the Iranian negotiating team, led by Bagheri Kani, who serves as the country’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs.

“Yet another productive meeting with the Iranian counterparts at the #ViennaTalks on the #JCPOA,” the senior Russian diplomat tweeted.

China says firmly committed to upholding JCPOA

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Thursday that Beijing welcomes the resumption of the talks in Vienna as it has always been firmly committed to upholding the multilateral deal.

“This is a result of concerted efforts of all parties and is consistent with the expectation of the international community,” Hua said, addressing a regular press conference.

She added that the resumption of the talks would be a new opportunity to “seek a political and diplomatic solution” to the Iranian nuclear issue.

“We hope that all parties can seize this opportunity, redouble diplomatic efforts, and fully demonstrate goodwill and flexibility to seek a solution to the outstanding issues as soon as possible,” the Chinese diplomat said.

She emphasized that the US has created the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program and it needs to “fully rectify its mistake and respond actively to the reasonable concerns of Iran for the negotiations to produce early results.”

The spokeswoman noted that her country has been in close touch with all sides and played an active role in advancing the negotiations.

“We will be constructively involved in future negotiations as well to contribute to bringing the implementation of the JCPOA back on track. We will at the same time resolutely uphold our own lawful rights and interests,” Hua added.

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