Key issues remain unresolved, top nuclear negotiator says

May 26, 2021 - 20:5

TEHRAN – A senior Iranian diplomat leading the Iranian negotiating team in Vienna has said important issues remain unresolved as Tehran and world powers resumed nuclear talks in the Austrian capital on Tuesday.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi arrived in Vienna a few days ago and started the fifth round of the Vienna nuclear talks that are aimed to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Today, the fifth round of our negotiations with the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, which consists of Iran and the P4+1 countries, began, and we had the first meeting of the Joint Commission. Work will continue by working groups in both nuclear area and sanctions lifting, and a third working group on how to implement the agreements will also continue,” Araghchi told state media Tuesday after a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, which marked the beginning of the fifth round of the nuclear talks.

“All parties are still serious”

He added, “All parties are still serious and have taken these talks seriously, many delegations are hoping that this round can be the last round of talks and we will reach a conclusion. You can have such hope, but you have to be a little bit cautious. The issues that remain to be finalized and decided are still important issues, although their number has decreased and we have made great strides in writing the text in previous periods. We can move forward further, but the few issues that remain are still key issues that need to be decided.”

The top nuclear negotiator pointed out, “One should still speak cautiously about whether this round can be the last round or not. We hope to be able to do this as soon as possible, but we are looking for an agreement that meets our definite demands and positions that have been repeatedly mentioned before. We have been seriously involved in these talks, and the experts with me will participate in the working groups, and we will take the discussions seriously, and we hope to be able to make faster progress than in the past.”

As regards the remaining issues and how long the negotiations will take, he said, “No date can be set. I cannot even say for sure that this will be the last round. The remaining issues, in our view, must be resolved in a way that satisfies us. This may be in two or three days or more, we do not sacrifice our desires and positions for time. It is important that what serves Iran's national interests must be carefully considered and met in the negotiations and in the texts that are written. Of course, we do not intend to waste time and we will not allow others to waste time. If we can move things forward faster, we will move forward faster, but we will not allow haste to move forward quickly, reduce our demands and impede our interest from being secured. We will carry out the negotiations carefully and tactfully, and we hope that, by the grace of God, we will be able to meet the demands and what are the definite positions of the system and have been expressed by the Leader on several occasions, and then we will report to Tehran.”

Araghchi continued, “I need to reiterate that any decision will ultimately be made in Tehran. Our task as functionaries of the establishment is to move the issues forward in the first line of the negotiations and then report the outcome. Decisions in Tehran are made by the relevant authorities and we are also told how to behave. We will move forward carefully and calmly and with wisdom; we will not rush for no reason, nor will we allow [the negotiations] to become long and draining. We hope that results can be achieved in this round. But we are not bound to do so in this round, but we are bound to have our interests fully met.”

“We will not sacrifice accuracy for speed”

Responding to a question about whether in his opinion this round can be the final round of negotiations and an agreement can be reached, Araghchi stated, “I have said this many times. As a diplomat, I am always hopeful and it is our duty to move forward with hope, but not with optimism. As long as the negotiations need to take, they will take. We will not sacrifice accuracy for speed, we will not sacrifice benefits for speed. We will not rush unnecessarily, and at the same time we will not prolong the negotiations without reason and logic. For us, time is not the criterion, for us, securing the interests of the country is the criterion, and until these interests are secured, the negotiations will continue.”

Araghchi echoed the same assessment in an interview with Press TV. He told the English-language broadcaster that he still cannot ascertain that a conclusion was possibly within reach despite progress made on some key differences over reviving the landmark deal.

“In the last round, we were able to make some meaningful progress in our negotiations but still there are some key issues to be resolved,” Araghchi said.

“I cannot say that we are able to conclude our job in this round of negotiations but this is possible; it depends on how much we are able to make progress on key issues and how much the other parties are prepared to make their own difficult decisions,” the Iranian deputy foreign minister underlined. “I am not confident that it would be possible to conclude the negotiations but there is a possibility.”


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