Iran’s Top Diplomat: Vienna Talks Positive, Good Agreement Needs Seriousness
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that talks between Tehran and the world powers in Vienna on removal of the US sanctions have been positive so far, stressing that an agreement is possible in the shortest time if the other side shows seriousness.
“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,” Amir Abdollahian said in an interview with the state TV on Sunday.
“Our proposals are transparent and clearly on the table. Our opposite sides, especially the Western parties, must show goodwill,” he added.
Amir Abdollahian stated that during the ongoing round of talks on the revival of the 2015 deal, Americans sought a host of concessions from Iran in return for giving one simple concession.
“The negotiations [in Vienna] are not easy, but the initiatives taken by the Iranian side ... have put us on the right track. We are close to a good agreement. Whether we would be able to clinch this good agreement in the short term depends on the opposite side... If all parties returned to their obligations under the JCPOA – specially the United States, which withdrew from the JCPOA and violated it, and three European signatories that followed suit with the US – then we would certainly return to [full compliance with] the JCPOA,” he said.
Amir Abdollahian expressed the hope that a good agreement would be reached by the Vienna talks participants in the shortest possible time, emphasizing that Iran does not seek protracted talks.
"We are not willing to give 10 concessions and get one ... If there is serious determination, it is possible to reach a good agreement in the shortest time," Amir Abdollahian said.
Iran’s foreign minister added that the Iranian economic team, which is present at the Vienna talks, is tasked with working to neutralize the sanctions imposed on the country, adding, "This means that we are not going to wait for the (outcome of) Vienna talks for years."
“The mission of the economic team in the Iranian delegation in Vienna is removing the sanctions. I mean, we are not supposed to wait many years till the Vienna negotiations will lead to an agreement. In the cabinet sessions, too, I told my colleagues to pursue their responsibilities supposing that the sanctions will be in place, as they are today. The president, too, emphasizes that the economic team’s looks should not be focused on Vienna, and the country’s fate should not be tied to the negotiations,” he added.
Amir Abdollahian said that the Foreign Ministry’s top responsibility is assisting the country to gain more hard currency and strengthen the stand of the government’s economic team.
“The other responsibility of the Foreign Ministry is having the diplomatic art at the negotiation table, as the innate responsibility of the Foreign Ministry. There, we pursue the negotiations with strong logic that makes good sense in encountering the other side. President Rayeesi’s government is pragmatist, and therefore in the negotiations we are determined with a pragmatist behavior based on securing national interests, which is the 13th government’s approach; so that we can lead the negotiations toward a satisfactory agreement,” he added.
Amir Abdollahian said that Iran’s proposals are clear and unblemished on the negotiation table. The other side, particularly the westerners need to show their good will. "In my visit of New York some personalities who are close to the US president were trying to arrange for a negotiation in New York. I told them behave in a way to prove your policies towards Iran have changed. If you are truthful in negotiations, release our blocked money abroad (10 billion dollars) as a sign of your good will for us to return to the JCPOA."
“Reaching a shared literature was difficult during the first two rounds of the negotiations. The entire past six rounds of negotiations are before us, and meanwhile, we too, have presented some proposals. I mean, there is no doubt that it is the right of the new government to review the agreements reached by the previous government. The former government’s approach was hastiness at the end of the negotiations. We have not time for making mistake, and will pursue our responsibilities carefully at the negotiation table,” he said.
Amir Abdollahian said that even in these negotiations in exchange of the “Non-Paper” documents between Iran and the US, the American side demands 10 points for itself, and intends to give only one point to Iran, and even that point, is not cash. Naturally, the negotiating table work is not simple, but the Iranian side’s initiatives and the done negotiations have put us on the right and appropriate path.
"We have got very close to a good agreement, but weather this good agreement can be reached in a short while, or not, is up to the other side. We declared that if they have good will and serious determination, everything is clear. If every side will return to acting in accordance with their commitments, and those who initially breached the JCPOA terms, specially the Americans, and the Europeans who followed suit, then we too, will return to observing out JCPAO commitments,” the foreign minister said.
Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said on Saturday that talks on removal of sanctions against his country in Vienna are advancing and the two sides are now trying to resolve outstanding issues.
Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement are resolving the outstanding issues, Baqeri Kani told reporters in Vienna after meetings with representatives of the G4+1 group of countries (Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China).
He added that the talks aimed at removing the US sanctions are advancing and moving forward.
Following talks with the Iranian lead negotiator, diplomats of the G4+1 countries reportedly held a meeting with the US representative and discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Vienna talks.
Tehran’s chief negotiator told reporters on Wednesday that the Vienna talks are “positive and forward-moving” and emphasized that efforts were underway to achieve results from the talks.
Also, last Monday, Amir Abdollahian said during sanctions removal talks in Vienna, Tehran seeks guarantees that no further sanctions will be imposed on the country once they are removed.
“We seek removal of sanctions that were imposed on Iran by (former US President Donald) Trump, especially those sanctions that are at odds with the (2015) nuclear deal," Iran’s foreign minister said.
“We also want guarantees that no new sanctions are imposed and that the existing sanctions would not be reimposed once they are removed,” he added.
Also, Russian chief negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet that the talks between Iran and the five countries are moving forward not fast but incrementally.
In another tweet, the Russian diplomat said the working group on sanctions lifting also held talks earlier in the day to assess the current state of affairs in the Vienna talks.
Iran and the G4+1 group of countries resumed talks in Vienna 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 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 Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table to help the talks move forward and later criticized the European signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for failing to follow suit and remaining passive.