Iran rejects reports of ‘temporary agreement,’ says it only negotiates final step

April 20, 2021 - 19:37

TEHRAN – A top Iranian nuclear negotiator leading Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna has rejected the possibility of Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal reaching a “temporary deal.”

Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said the subject of reaching a temporary agreement has never been broached at the talks between Iran and the P4+1 (China, Russia, France, and the UK plus Germany).

He was responding to press reports in Western media outlets claiming that Iran and the P4+1 could soon reach a temporary agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“There is no discussion of a ‘temporary agreement’ or similar issues in the talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P4 + 1,” Araghchi said in a statement published on his Telegram Channel late on Monday night. 

He also underlined that Iran is only negotiating a “final step” to lift U.S. sanctions. “The Islamic Republic of Iran only talks about the final step in lifting the cruel sanctions against the Iranian people, and rumors such as step-by-step plans or a temporary agreement are baseless,” Araghchi said. 

“Iran will not be in rush to get results”

The chief Iranian negotiator reiterated the Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s reiteration that the Vienna talks should not become draining or attritional. 

“As the Leader reiterated, the Islamic Republic of Iran will never allow negotiations to become attritional. At the same time, it will not be in a rush to get the results. The talks should proceed accurately and protect the country’s interests and definite positions,” Araghchi continued.

He noted that the fate of the talks will be determined in Tehran. “Any decision on the process and outcome of the talks will be made in Tehran, and the negotiating team reports on the status of the talks to senior officials on an ongoing basis,” he concluded. 

Araghchi’s remarks came a day before the JCPOA Joint Commission holds another round of talks on Tuesday. The European Union announced on Monday that the Joint Commission will resume its work on Tuesday. 

“The Joint Commission will be chaired on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell by the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran,” the European Union said in a statement.

“Participants will take stock of the progress in the ongoing discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and on how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all sides,” the statement added. 

Diplomats from Iran and the P4+1 are in the Austrian capital of Vienna to discuss ways of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. They have entered the stage of drafting a new agreement to revive the nuclear deal, according to the Russian envoy to the Vienna nuclear talks.

“Summing up the results of 2 weeks of deliberations on JCPOA restoration we can note with satisfaction that the negotiations entered the drafting stage. Practical solutions are still far away, but we have moved from general words to agreeing on specific steps towards the goal,” Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter.

The tweet came two days after the top Iranian nuclear negotiator announced that the talks are leading to a “new understanding”. Araghchi said on Saturday that serious disagreements remain but that his country was working on a draft text for reviving the accord that could work as a framework for subsequent discussions.

He further noted that it seems a new understanding is being formed and there is an agreement on the ultimate goal among all parties, adding that the path that needs to be taken is a path that is now somewhat more well-known, according to the official website of the Iranian government.

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, also said on Monday he saw a willingness to save the nuclear deal. 

“I think that both parties are really interested in reaching an agreement, and they have been moving from general to more focused issues, which are clearly, on one side sanction-lifting, and on the other side, nuclear implementation issues,” the EU chief diplomat was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The Vienna talks are moving in the right direction, according to Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry. 

 Speaking at a weekly press briefing on Monday, Khatibzadeh said, “What is happening in Vienna is a technical dialogue on how to lift the U.S. sanctions and return the U.S. government to its obligations under the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. We are on the right track and progress has been made, but that does not mean that the talks have reached the final stage.”

He added, “As our delegation is not in Vienna for attritional talks, we tried to present our own texts and asked the other side to enter into common examples and texts immediately. The sooner this happens, the better we can think about the outcome. It’s too early to think about it. We are now at a stage where discussions on difficult issues need to take place. We are not in a hurry. What is important is that we can serve the interests of the great people of Iran within the framework of the instructions of the Leader of the Revolution and the general policy of the system.”

According to Khatibzadeh, Iran has expressed all its views decisively within the framework of the general policies of the system.

“Of course, there are difficult issues, and we think it will be easier if the U.S. government decides to distance itself from Trump’s failed legacy and try to live up to its commitments,” the spokesman pointed out.

Despite difficulties, Iran and the P4+1 seem to be moving toward “simultaneous, sequential steps,” according to The Washington Post. 

“Throughout the talks, Iranian officials have taken a hard public line, insisting the United States, having withdrawn from the deal, must take the first steps back into compliance. Iran wants all sanctions initially lifted as part of the agreement but reimposed by Trump, along with an estimated 1,500 new measures his administration adopted as part of its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, to be removed,” the Post said. 

Citing officials familiar with the talks, the American paper claimed that both Iran and the Biden administration — which initially made a similar demand that Iran act first by returning to compliance with the original terms of the deal — are moving toward simultaneous, sequential steps.

However, Araghchi made it clear that Iran is only discussing a final step for the U.S. and Iran to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.


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