Vienna talks to lead to ‘new deal’: senior MP

May 2, 2021 - 17:4

TEHRAN – A senior Iranian lawmaker has said that the Vienna nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are expected to lead to a new deal, warning the Iranian negotiating team against falling into the American “trap.”

The lawmaker, Alireza Salimi, who is a member of the parliament’s presiding board, said the Vienna talks should proceed within the framework of a nuclear law passed by the parliament and in accordance with the policies articulated by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

The nuclear law, officially called “Strategic Action to Lift Sanctions and Protect the Nation’s Rights,” stipulates that if the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal– Germany, France, China, Russia, and the UK- failed to facilitate Iran’s oil exports and the return of Iranian oil revenues in two months, the Iranian government would be obligated to stop inspections beyond the IAEA safeguards, including the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, which allows unannounced and intensive inspections of nuclear sites.

Iran reached an understanding with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi a few days before the implementation of the nuclear law. Under the deal, the IAEA is allowed to carry out necessary inspections and verifications for a period of three months. After that, the continuation of the inspections would be contingent on the West lifting sanctions and returning to commitments under the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran’s deal with the UN nuclear watchdog will expire in May, potentially setting the stage for a new round of tensions between them unless the current Vienna nuclear talks lead to another deal before the end of that deal. 

Salimi said the Vienna talks only have a window of three months opportunity to succeed, potentially hinting that if these talks fail to result in a deal within three months, they will not continue. 

“In the Vienna negotiations, the law of the parliament and the policies announced by the Leader must be observed, and any agreement beyond the framework set by the parliament will not be accepted,” he told the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA).

He added, “Since the Vienna talks are supposed to lead to an agreement and the parties will sign it, it must be ratified by the Islamic Consultative Assembly because it is a new and binding agreement, so if the legal issues mentioned in the agreement are not included, it will face problems in the Assembly.”

He pointed out that the Vienna Agreement would have no value without parliamentary ratification.

“If the sanctions are to be lifted step by step, or partially, or if the lifting of sanctions is only for a period of 120 days and tougher sanctions are imposed, we will certainly not accept the Vienna agreement,” he continued.

He also warned of an American trap, saying the Iranian negotiating team must avoid it. 

“We advise the negotiating team not to fall into the American trap and to conduct the negotiations within the framework of the Strategic Action Law and the policies articulated by the Leader,” the lawmaker concluded. 

Nuclear negotiators from Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal held another meeting on Saturday to discuss the latest developments related to the issue of reviving the nuclear deal.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi led the Iranian negotiating team at the talks, which have been moving forward since they started in April. The main objective of the Vienna talks is to reach an agreement on how to revive the nuclear deal.

At the start of the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, Araghchi said participants will discuss the outcome of the talks that were held at the level of expert groups. 

“After this meeting, delegations will return to capitals,” the top Iranian nuclear negotiator said.

Following the Saturday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, it was agreed that the talks will be resumed on Friday, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

According to the statement, participants discussed the latest developments related to the discussions of the three expert groups.

“In this meeting, the participants reviewed the latest status of consultations among expert-level working groups in the fields of sanctions removal, nuclear issues, and practical arrangements. It was decided that the delegations return to their capitals following this meeting, and resume the talks next Friday,” the statement continued. 

Based on an earlier decision by the Joint Commission on expediting the process of negotiations, the talks were held bilaterally or multilaterally in an intensive way this week, and the parties tried to minimize their disagreements over the drafts.

“The participants agreed that in the next round of talks, the process should move forward in a faster and more serious way,” the statement noted. 

Meanwhile, the Russian envoy to the Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said these talks made “indisputable progress.”

“The JCPOA participants noted today the indisputable progress made at the Vienna talks on restoration of the nuclear deal. The Joint Commission will reconvene at the end of the next week. In the meantime, experts will continue to draft elements of future agreement,” he said on Twitter. 

He added, “At which stage the Vienna talks on JCPOA restoration are? It’s too early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism. There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately 3 weeks. Is it realistic? We will see.”

Meanwhile, the Iranian top negotiator said parties have agreed that most of the individuals, entities, and institutions would be removed from the sanctions list.

“Some people are still in the sanctions list for various reasons and in this regard, negotiations are still underway,” he said, noting, “According to the agreements reached so far, sanctions on the energy sector or the car industry, financial sectors, banking systems, and ports should be lifted.”

“We have small technical points in the nuclear issue as well as sanctions, and we have details that need to be discussed,” Araghchi pointed out.
 

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