Deputy FM: Iran has consistently, seriously cooperated with IAEA, will continue cooperation

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani

The Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs says the Islamic Republic, as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has always cooperated with the world body and will continue to do so.

Ali Bagheri Kani made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Monday ceremony held to mark the third anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s top anti-terrorism commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and his companions by the US.

“As an effective and responsible member of the Agency and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and as a country possessing nuclear capabilities, nuclear knowledge, and nuclear technology, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always cooperated seriously and effectively with the Agency and will definitely keep up that cooperation,” he said.

The senior diplomat also reacted to recent claims by Germany and the United States that negotiations on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are not important to them anymore.

Bagheri Kani, who is also Iran's top negotiator in the talks, said, “The [JCPOA revival] negotiations constitute a continuous process, which has been ongoing. It’s methods may have changed [from time to time], but the process still continues.”

The stalemate on the nuclear deal was triggered in May 2018, when former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the accord reached between Iran and the world powers, and imposed harsh economic sanctions against the country under the so-called “maximum pressure” policy.

The talks to salvage the JCPOA kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April 2021, with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing anti-Iran sanctions.

The negotiations have been at a standstill since August 2022 due to Washington’s insistence on its hard-nosed position of not removing all the sanctions that were slapped on the Islamic Republic by the previous US administration.

Iran maintains it is necessary for the other side to offer some guarantees that they will remain committed to any agreement that is reached.

In meddlesome remarks, Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger, whose country is a signatory to the JCPOA, said on Wednesday that Berlin sees no reason to revive the stalled talks on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“From our point of view, there are currently no indications or reasons for a resumption of the Iran nuclear negotiations,” Burger told media representatives in Berlin, noting that his country is focusing on support for Iranian protesters.

This is while European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said late in December that there is no alternative to the 2015 nuclear deal.

"I still believe that when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation, there is no alternative to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Those who think otherwise simply fool themselves,” Borrell said in a blog post.

Diplomatic efforts to revive JCPOA not exhausted yet: Russia 

Meanwhile, in a Monday post on his Twitter account, Russia's top negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov said diplomatic efforts to salvage the JCPOA are not exhausted yet, warning of the adverse consequence of any alternative to the deal.

"Definitely diplomatic efforts are not exhausted yet (if the relevant political will exists, of course)," he tweeted.

Ulyanov, who is Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, added that there are reliable diplomatic ways to determine which party is serious about the JCPOA revival.

"Any alternative to the JCPOA can have very negative implications for regional security," he emphasized.

In an earlier tweet, Ulyanov said Iran has recently reiterated its readiness to conclude the JCPOA revival talks and that the ball is in the West. 

"Recently #Iran confirmed a number of times its readiness to conclude the #ViennaTalks on restoration of #JCPOA and rightly stated that the ball was in the Western court," the Russian diplomat tweeted.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday that the “window to reach an agreement” in Vienna will not remain open forever, urging other parties to be realistic.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of his two-day visit to Oman, the top Iranian diplomat added that Tehran welcomes any initiative on the part of Muscat “to reach a good, strong and stable agreement.”

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