Vienna talks won’t change Iran regional policy: ambassador

July 7, 2021 - 18:57

TEHRAN – Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mehdi Sobhani has underlined that the Vienna talks between Iran and the West are only concerned with the nuclear issue, and will not affect Iran's consistent policy towards the region and the entire resistance axis.

In an interview with the Al-Ahed news website, Sobhani stressed the continuation of Iranian material and moral support for the Palestinian cause, and said that “the Zionist enemy will beg for a cease-fire in the first new aggression it undertakes against the Palestinians.”

Sobhani spoke about more than one concept of power that peoples and states may possess: “hard power, soft power, smart power, and moral power,” explaining that “moral power means the power to influence ideas, visions, beliefs, and the power to create standards, and what the Islamic Revolution did under the leadership of Imam Khomeini and then Imam Khamenei is that it created this strength in the people. It is true that the enemy possesses the tools of coarse force and is superior in this regard, but the strength of the belief and belief of the Palestinian people is much stronger than those hard tools.”

The ambassador added, “I think that what led to these successes is the creation of this strength in the Muslim peoples, especially the Palestinian people, and I think that this represents the greatest help from the Islamic Revolution in Iran and from the thought of the Islamic Revolution to achieve these achievements.”

On the latest developments concerning the nuclear deal talks in Vienna between the West and Iran, Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus stressed that the talks were long and difficult, but they are progressing, and these discussions are taking place within the framework of the nuclear agreement, and whatever the outcome of these negotiations, they will not affect the fixed policies of the Islamic Republic towards the region and the axis of resistance.

Sobhani indicated that “the other side withdrew from this agreement and today it wants to return to it and talks are taking place to determine the framework under which it will return to this agreement.”

The Iranian ambassador to Damascus pointed out that in addition to the withdrawal of the other side from the nuclear agreement, it created itself problems and obstacles to return to it. Therefore, the discussions focus on finding a mechanism to overcome these obstacles and remove obstacles.

Sobhani reiterated that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a “fixed policy regarding the axis of resistance and support for the resistance, and the discussions taking place in Vienna regarding the nuclear agreement focus on the nuclear agreement only.”

Sobhani stressed that what matters to Iran is the continuation of resistance.

Since April, diplomats from the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the JCPOA, and the U.S. have held six rounds of talks in a bid to revive the deal. They made significant progress but failed to get Iran and the U.S. back to full compliance with the nuclear deal.

The sixth round was concluded more than two weeks ago. Deputy Foreign Minister Araqchi, who leads the Iranian negotiating team in Vienna, issued a statement about the conclusion of the sixth round.

Araqchi, while referring to the progress made in the round of negotiations, especially regarding the draft of negotiation texts, said that the remaining important issues require serious decisions in the capitals, especially in the negotiating countries. He called on the negotiating parties to make the necessary decisions with realism, seriousness and strong will to maintain and revive the JCPOA.

On Tuesday, Iran once again underlined the need for the negotiating parties in Vienna, particularly the United States, to make difficult decisions regarding a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has reiterated a previous call by Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Araqchi for tough decisions concerning the nuclear talks, which aim to revive the JCPOA.

In a briefing statement on Tuesday, Khatibzadeh said, “The progress made in the Vienna talks is a fact acknowledged by all parties to the talks, although there are still important issues that largely need to be decided by the other parties, especially the United States. In fact, the finalization of the agreement to revive the JCPOA depends on the political will of the other parties to make tough decisions on their part.”

He added, “The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible and to lift the cruel sanctions against the Iranian people. However, we do not set any deadline for reaching an agreement that serves the interests of the Iranian people and negotiations will continue until a desirable agreement for Iran is reached. As has been said many times, we are not in a hurry to reach an agreement, but we will not allow the negotiations to become draining and protracted.”

Earlier, Araqchi echoed the same assessment. He said the U.S. needs to make difficult decisions regarding the JCPOA.

“So far, six rounds of talks have been held with the P4+1, and we are almost close to the final stages. There is a series of issues that have been sufficiently negotiated and it is time for the countries to decide,” the top negotiator said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has already made tough decisions. When the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and Iran decided to stay in the JCPOA. It was Iran's big and difficult decision that led to the preservation of the JCPOA so far. Now it is the turn of the opposing parties, and according to the negotiations we had, they must decide and reach a conclusion on the revival of the JCPOA in order to reach an agreement,” Araghchi told Iranian media after briefing lawmakers sitting on the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on the Vienna talks last week.

The Vienna talks were expected to resume this week but were delayed after Iran and the U.S. accused each other of not showing the flexibility needed to resume the talks.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi newspaper Al-Sabah reported that the seventh round has been postponed until after the formation of the Raisi government.

Citing an Iranian source, the Iraqi newspaper said, “The Iranian delegation will not participate in the Vienna talks in light of the current atmosphere that prevails in the talks.”

The source added, “Iran did not receive encouraging signs from the American side after the end of the fifth round of talks in which a draft was agreed on revive the agreement.”

At the end of the fifth round, the negotiators agreed on a draft based on the results of three “working groups” that discussed the mechanism of Iran's reversal of its nuclear steps and a list of the sanctions that the American side should remove as well as the mechanism for the United States to return to the P5+1 group.

But the Iranian side said this draft needs guarantees that the U.S. will not withdraw from the nuclear agreement again, something the U.S. refused to give so far.

The source pointed out that “the new Iranian administration believes that there is no need to extend the agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding surveillance cameras after the Vienna talks reached a dead end, in addition to its belief that the course of these talks does not rise to the level of serving Iranian interests.”

The source pointed to “the new administration's conviction of the necessity of changing the course of the talks to achieve these interests so that ‘a believer is not stung from the same hole twice’.”

According to the source, “the talks are postponed until further notice (maybe) until after the formation of the new Iranian government after August 3, and the formation of the new negotiating team according to a new course of talks.”

Regarding the fate of the results of the Vienna talks, the source told Al-Sabah: “The new negotiating team will benefit from the achievements made in the Vienna process, but with a view that is consistent with the new directions of the new Iranian administration.”

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