Iran, P4+1 reach two drafts, says spokesman

May 4, 2021 - 23:40

TEHRAN— In his weekly press briefing on Monday, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave updates on the Vienna negotiations. He also welcomed the change of tone in Saudi Arabia yet called for a change of behavior.

Khatibzadeh began his press briefing by stating his condolences for the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ali (PBUH), which marks the 21st day of Ramadan.

Responding to various questions about the Vienna negotiations and their current status, he said that the two sides have drafted two texts about sanctions removal and the nuclear issue. They are ironing out the disputes.

"We believe that all the sanctions that Trump has imposed on Iran are related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and all of them aimed at destroying the JCPOA and preventing Iran from benefiting from the deal," the spokesman noted.

He said that the lifting of financial, banking, oil, and public and sector sanctions is a matter of course, and what is being discussed is a matter of disputes.

The diplomat clarified Iran's position on the issue of sanctions, stating that the ministry's position on the subject of sanctions is the establishment's position, which is the lifting of all sanctions imposed on Iran in the post-JCPOA era.

In response to a question about lifting sanctions on individuals and entities and opinion differences in this issue, Khatibzadeh said that what is discussed during the negotiations cannot be addressed in the public space, referring these debates to the Joint Commission of the JCPOA.

"All I can say is that our red lines, which has been the same since day one, is that all the sanctions imposed on Iran after the nuclear deal must be lifted, including public sector sanctions and sector sanctions. Good progress has been made in this round of talks, and the two sides have been able to reach a common understanding in many areas," he remarked.

On the other hand, he noted severe disagreements in the area of sanctions against individuals.

He stressed, "We must continue the talks in this regard in the course of the negotiations of the Joint Commission."

He noted that dialogue must move forward in its own space. Significant and outstanding progress has been made, but progress has been slow in some areas.

Responding to a question about the damage the United States has caused Iran by leaving the JCPOA and whether there are debates about this in the Joint Commission,

Khatibzadeh said that the sides are currently concentrating on how the United States should return to its full obligations. Yet, there are discussions about the U.S. damage in the Joint Commission as well.

Khatibzadeh emphasized that Iran should have access to all its resources all around the world.

Responding to a question about the temporary suspension of sanctions for 120 or 180 days, the spokesman said, "Scattered reports should not be the basis of analysis. What is Iran's definite position is that all sanctions should be lifted and negotiations are underway."

"What is written in the JCPOA will be the criterion of our action, and we have nothing to do with American domestic policy. Certainly, all of the U.S. commitments must be fulfilled by the U.S. government, and how it implements will depend on the U.S. itself," he noted.

Criticizing the behavior of the United States, the diplomat said that the U.S. has time and again proven that, especially under Trump, it cannot abide by any treaty and withdraw from it. In this context, it is essential for Iran that the Americans fulfill their verifiable commitments.

Khatibzadeh stressed that the delegate is in no hurry to continue the talks, and it is doing its mission tactfully, yet Iran will not get into an "erosive game."

He also noted that the Joint Commission would reconvene on Friday.

'Zarif's regional tour in line with Ramadan dipolmacy'

Referring to Mohammad Javad Zarif's visits to Qatar, Iraq, Oman, and Kuwait, the spokesman stated that these visits were part of Iran's "Ramadan Diplomacy," bearing the message that the region is Iran's top priority.

"We have regional and bilateral relations with all these countries, and talks have been made regarding these relations," he said.

'Iran is worried about recent Afghanistan events'

"We are worried about what is happening in Afghanistan, and we have done whatever we can to ensure Afghanistan's future is peaceful and stable, and we are in touch with the Afghan government and other groups to achieve success," Khatibzadeh said.

He noted that Iran is consulting with other regional countries about Afghanistan, expressing hope that the government of Afghanistan will also take serious considerations.

"We hope that the process of change will proceed in the interest of the people of Afghanistan and to establish peace and stability in this country," he remarked.

Responding to a question about Iran's participation in the Istanbul Summit, Khatibzadeh referred that question to its right time in the future.

The Istanbul Summit was scheduled to be held from April 24 to May 4, yet, the host postponed it to after the holy month of Ramadan. Turkey, Qatar, and the United Nations will host the summit.

'Change of tone is not enough. Iran must see the change of actions'

In response to the possible Tehran-Riyadh dialogue, Khatibzadeh welcomed the change of tone in Saudi Arabia, yet stating that it is not enough.

"There won't be de-escalation without change of action and behavior," he said.

The spokesman highlighted Iran's readiness to hold talks with all its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia.

Responding to a question about the presence of Jordan and Egypt in talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the diplomat said that he could not verify the news. Therefore, he cannot comment on it.

'Iran is seriously concerned about Yemen developments'

Responding to a question about Foreign Minister's meeting with Muhammad Abdul Salam, Houthi's chief negotiator in Muscat, Khatibzadeh expressed his deep concern about the recent developments in Yemen, describing the human conditions in Yemen as "the worst possible."

He also said that what is going on in Marib should be seen in the context of Yemen's general picture.

"If there is a serious will to end the current miserable humanitarian situation in Yemen, the siege must be lifted at the same time as the general ceasefire in Yemen, human access must be provided, and Yemeni-Yemeni talks must take place. The Yemeni National Salvation Government not only supported this path but also played an effective role in defining it, and the negotiations that took place in Oman were within this framework," the spokesman elaborated.

SA/AJ

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