Process to review JCPOA talks will soon reach conclusion, Iran says

October 9, 2021 - 22:43

TEHRAN – There are two stages for reviewing six rounds of talks to revive the JCPOA in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says.

The first process of reviewing the negotiations has been concluded and based on that Iran decided to resume talks with the P4+1 in Vienna and the second process will soon reach the conclusion, Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

"As soon as the process of reviewing the previous talks is over, the talks will begin," Khatibzadeh told France 24.

Khatibzadeh was commenting on remarks by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian that the nuclear talks will be resumed in the near future. 
"After the new administration took office, we started two processes of reviewing the previous talks inside the country. The first review process has been completed and reached the conclusion, so we decided to definitely continue the nuclear talks with the P4+1 in Vienna and announce it."

The first review project was positive, but the second review process is not over yet, the diplomat added.

The spokesman went on to say that the new Iranian administration was reviewing all the details of the last six rounds of talks in the previous Rouhani administration. 

During the last months of Rouhani’s presidency talks started in April and six rounds of talks were held until June 20. However, Iran and the U.S. agreed on some points to revitalize the JCPOA but disagreed on a few important issues.

The U.S. was participating in the talks indirectly. The European Union was acting as a mediator between Iran and the U.S.

"Of course, the new (Iranian) administration has questions in this regard and wants to examine what the shortcomings are… and results of those talks will be examined… soon this review process will be finalized and we will be able to set a specific date for the new round of talks," the official highlighted.

Khatibzadeh, in response to the question whether he can announce an approximate time, said: "The President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that as soon as the review process of the previous talks is completed, the date will be announced".

A lot of efforts are being made right now in Tehran to review all the details of the previous talks as there are a lot of details about the talks, Khatibzadeh noted, adding, "I think this is less than what Mr. Biden's administration team needed to return to the Vienna talks." 

Asked what details does he think should be further explored, the spokesman said: "There are questions for the new administration as why the previous talks did not lead to the desired result and a document that is to the satisfaction of all parties. We also seek to draft the issues that need to be addressed in the next round of talks." 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the diplomat underlined that the most important issue was the lifting of all sanctions imposed on Iran after the unilateral withdrawal of President Trump from the JCPOA.

"The Trump administration has imposed 800 new unilateral and illegal sanctions on Iran, all of which must be lifted. This has been our position from the beginning, so we must find a way to get the necessary guarantees to lift all of these sanctions effectively."

On whether Iran is seeking a lifting of all sanctions in the talks, Khatibzadeh, said: "There is no talk of progress in this regard, in fact, Iran and the P4+1 are all members of the JCPOA and this is the United States which wants to return to the negotiating room and needs an entry key, and this key is in fact the ability of this country to respond to the request of the P4+1 countries and Iran."

“There was a lot of hope for Washington’s quick return to JCPOA” 

The spokesman reiterated that there are important issues that need to be addressed and one of them is a lifting of all sanctions that have been re-imposed or new ones imposed by President Trump's administration under different headings, as well as ensuring that again no other president in the United States would violate the agreement.

Asked if Iran wanted any more concessions from the United States, he said: "The main point is that the signed and sealed agreement must be respected, so we must ensure that there is sufficient assurance for the full and committed implementation of the provisions of the nuclear deal by all parties."

On whether Iran has new hopes now that Joe Biden has entered the White House, he explained: "Mr. Biden during the election campaign promised to return to international agreements that President Trump's administration unilaterally withdrew; the Paris climate treaty and JCPOA were among them, and there was a lot of hope in Washington for a quick return to the deal, but in practice it did not happen in the case of the JCPOA.”

The spokesman stressed: "If I want to be clear, the new administration in the United States has not actually changed its policies and approaches towards Iran. The sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on the Islamic Republic of Iran continue, and we have not seen a major change in the new U.S. administration's policies toward Iran."

About the Israeli prime minister during his speech at the UN General Assembly who claimed that the nuclear program of Iran has reached a “critical point” and has crossed all red lines, Khatibzadeh noted, "One knows that Israel is not in a position to talk about Iran; this regime is sitting on more than hundreds of nuclear warheads."

Barbara Slavin, an American foreign policy expert, told the Tehran Times in September that according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Israel has about 90 nuclear weapons. 

Khatibzadeh added that Israel was not a member of the NPT and was avoiding joining the treaty or any other international monitoring regime.

In addition, the regime, which refuses to join the IAEA safeguards agreement and opposes a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, has no right to comment on Iran as a signatory to the NPT.

"Iran has fully complied with its rights and obligations, and the 15 consecutive reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency as the only specialized body in the field of nuclear energy show the full and sincere adherence of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the nuclear agreement," the Foreign Ministry spokesman added.
"My emphasis is that peaceful nuclear activities are our inalienable right and the Zionist regime, as a regime with nuclear warheads, has no place to comment on the peaceful nuclear activities of Iran," the official underscored.  

Iran's membership in the NPT means that not only nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defense doctrine, but it also means that Iran is trying to promote a non-proliferation system around the world, the spokesman said.

“We have clear and frank talks with our Saudi friends”

Elsewhere in his lengthy interview, the Foreign Ministry spokesman also responded to a question about recent meetings between Iranian and Saudi negotiators, saying, "Several rounds of talks were held between the two countries' officials in Baghdad with the help of our Iraqi friends during which various topics of interest, including bilateral and regional, were discussed."

"We are now in a position with great hope that we can have clear and frank talks with our Saudi friends; I believe that if we see a change in approaches, we will see good results and a good outcome of these talks."

Currently, the main bone of contention between Iran and Riyadh is the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

"Yemen is in a catastrophic situation and we are all witnessing a critical situation in this country; there is a real human tragedy in Yemen, which is due to the Saudi war against Yemen, the bombings against it and the complete siege of that country," he regretted.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that millions of people in Yemen were in need of basic necessities and that all parties should help resolve the crisis in the country. 

All must mobilize their power to help form a political solution to the Yemeni crisis.

About Iran's approach to resolve the Yemeni crisis, he said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken a very constructive approach, both in helping the UN initiative to talk to our Yemeni friends and facilitating the formation of Yemeni-Yemeni talks. The Yemen crisis was one of the topics we talked about during the talks with our Saudi counterparts in Baghdad, and we will continue to do so."

“Afghanistan must not become a haven for extremism and terrorism”

Asked what Iran's relationship with the Taliban government would look like, Khatibzadeh said: "It is a little early to talk about recognition now. The Islamic Republic of Iran is in contact with all the different parties in Afghanistan."

He noted that the most important issue was that the future of Afghanistan must be based on an inclusive government and the will of the people.

An inclusive government should reflect the diversity of the Afghan people that would guarantee future peace and stability in the country, and this view must be made clear to all, especially the leaders of Afghanistan, the spokesman pointed out.

Emphasizing that Afghanistan should not become a haven for extremism and terrorism, he added: "Afghanistan should be a party in all regional arrangements and a good friend to all in the region and beyond. These are things that we must all work together to ensure Afghanistan's future."

History has shown that lack of a strong or inclusive government will turn Afghanistan into a safe haven for extremism, he remarked.

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