Iran's Bagheri rules out nuclear negotiations, says talks only focused on U.S. sanctions

November 10, 2021 - 21:47

TEHRAN – Iran’s top nuclear negotiator has said that there will be no nuclear negotiations at the Vienna talks later this month and the talks would only focus on the implications of the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the major world powers.

Ali Bagheri-Kani, Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, made the remarks in an interview with Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) News Agency on Wednesday while on a tour of European countries. Bagheri-Kani arrived in France on Tuesday on the first leg of his tour, which includes visits to other European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Iranian diplomat met his French counterpart and discussed issues related to the JCPOA. “As you know, France is chairing the European Union at the beginning of the new year and in the first six months of 2022, and of course it can play a transnational role,” Bagheri-Kani said. “In this regard, I think it is a very good opportunity to improve the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and France, as well as France's role in regional interactions, as well as in the course of the talks that we will have with the P4+1 in Vienna on November 29.”

Bagheri-Kani also stated that he had “detailed”, “frank”, “serious”, “constructive” and “forward-looking” talks with the political director general of the French Foreign Ministry, according to Fars News.

“The main issue we are facing now is the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA.”

Regarding the remarks made by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that the talks should pick up where they left on June 20, the deputy foreign minister said, “We do not have nuclear talks, because the nuclear issue was fully agreed in 2015 in the form of an agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1.”

The Iranian diplomat noted, “The main issue we are facing now is the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, which are limited to the illegal sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Bagheri-Kani left Paris for Berlin and is scheduled to leave for London at later times. Madrid is another destination of Bagheri's European trip.

Before beginning his tour, the Iranian diplomat had said that he would discuss a range of issues with his European counterparts.

“Following recent consultations w/ foreign colleagues, will meet several European counterparts in upcoming days. Exchanges on bilateral & regional issues AWA future talks are on the agenda.  We shall spare no effort in advancing our national interests incl removal of illegal sanctions,” he said on Twitter. 

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian held phone talks with all his counterparts on the P4+1 countries. He spoke with the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the UK, China, and Russia. In all these conversations, the JCPOA was the main focus. 

In his conversation with the French foreign minister, Amir Abdollahian recalled the United States’ responsibility for the current situation of the JCPOA as well as the role that the three European countries’ silence has played in Washington’s excessive demands.

“Iran wants a good agreement, but it has requirements, including the other sides fully complying with their commitments and the effective lifting of sanctions,” said the top Iranian diplomat.

He referred to the United States’ recent sanctions against Iran, saying the move is yet another reason why Iran keeps distrusting the U.S.

Amir Abdollahian stressed the need for U.S. guarantees and effective verification, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

The French foreign minister, for his part, said Paris supports the return of all sides to the JCPOA, adding he will try his utmost in that regard.

He expressed hope that rapid headway will be made with the forthcoming negotiations in Vienna.

The Iranian foreign minister also referred to the upcoming talks in Vienna in his talks with the German foreign minister. He said the U.S. is to blame for the current situation.

“The U.S. withdrawal [from the nuclear deal] and the failure of the three European countries to fulfill their obligations have increasingly deepened mistrust. Therefore, full removal of sanctions is a necessity,” he said.

Amir Abdollahian also reiterated the need for the European sides to avoid issuance of statements and comments, which fuel tensions.

“On the path to the talks and in media terms, using a language of force and threats is not helpful and the Islamic Republic of Iran will not give in to unfounded propaganda. Any inaccurate comment, which does not comply with the facts, can jeopardize ongoing efforts,” he said.

The German foreign minister also said his country understands Iran’s lack of trust. He noted that his country will put efforts into returning the U.S. to the nuclear deal, and also to help talks bear results.

In his phone conversation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Amir Abdollahian voiced hope the U.S. and the European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal will enter the Vienna talks realistically so that an agreement is reached swiftly. He added that the U.S. cannot push ahead with its failed maximum pressure policy and economic terrorism and at the same time claim it wants talks and an agreement.

The Chinese foreign minister welcomed the continuation of the nuclear talks and announced Beijing’s support for them. Wang blamed the U.S. for the obstacles to the implementation of the nuclear deal. He expressed hope that the U.S. will compensate for its mistake by fully removing the anti-Iran sanctions so that the negotiations will produce good results in light of Iran’s positive approach.  

The nuclear deal was also among the issues discussed by Amir Abdollahian and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In the conversation, Amir Abdollahian referred to an agreement between Iran and the nuclear deal’s coordinator regarding the time of the 4+1 group’s talks with Tehran. He stressed that fast progress in talks is contingent upon the European troika and the U.S. adopting a realistic and constructive approach through avoiding demanding too much of Iran and making demands beyond the nuclear deal.

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