Top Iranian, British diplomats discuss JCPOA developments

April 5, 2021 - 21:32

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab two days before an important meeting on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna.

The conversation took place upon Raab’s request. 

“In this phone call, the two sides conferred on the latest developments related to the JCPOA, especially the upcoming meeting of the Joint Commission in Vienna,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Zarif once again underlined the necessity of the full and final removal of the U.S.’s “unlawful and unfair” sanctions in a way that Iran can verify.

“This is how we will return to our commitments,” Zarif said.

He also called on the European parties to the JCPOA to respect their commitments under the deal and play a constructive role in the Tuesday talks in Vienna.

The UK foreign secretary, in turn, said his country will try to help negotiations bear fruit.

The two sides also exchanged views on certain political and consular issues.

Zarif’s conversation with Raab came on the heels of another phone call with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in which he called on France to show a constructive stance in the Vienna meeting. 

“In a telephone call with French FM @JY_LeDrian today, I urged France to show a constructive stance on the JCPOA in next week’s meeting in Vienna. I called on France to honor its commitments under the accord, and to cease abiding by illegal sanctions imposed by the U.S.,” Zarif said in a tweet following the call. 

The French foreign minister also said a similar thing. “I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place,” Le Drian said. “They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”

The parties to the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are expected to hold an important meeting in Vienna on Tuesday. The meeting was arranged during the Friday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, which was held virtually.

Following the Friday meeting, there has been a wave of speculation about possible direct talks between Iran and the U.S. in the next meeting in Vienna as many Western news media outlets broke the news that U.S. officials will be in Vienna at the time of the Tuesday meeting. 

The U.S. confirmed that it will participate in the Vienna meeting and said it was open to holding direct talks with Iran. 

“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday of the meeting in Vienna.

“We do not anticipate presently that there will be direct talks between the United States and Iran through this process, though the United States remains open to them,” he added.

But Iran said it will not have any talks with the U.S. in Vienna. 

“We will have no direct or indirect talks with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and will announce our demand and condition for returning to compliance with the JCPOA. We demand that the United States first fulfill all of its obligations and lift all the sanctions it has imposed, and then we will verify and return,” Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Seyed Abbas Araghchi said in remarks to state TV.

Iran has been taking remedial measures in response to the abrogation of the nuclear deal by former U.S. administration and imposition of unprecedented sanctions. Iran started to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA after waiting for a full year. 

Iran took these steps in accordance to paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which has “provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.”


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