E3 twists the truth about Vienna talks

December 15, 2021 - 20:45

TEHRAN – While Iran continues to increase cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and show necessary resilience at the Vienna talks, the western partners to the talks seem unwilling to put an end to their stonewalling.

A case in point is the recent joint statement by the European trio -France, Germany and Britain (E3) – about the current state of play in Vienna. The ambassadors of the trio to the UN accused, in a media stakeout, Iran of “curtailed monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), leaving the international community with less knowledge of the status the Iranian nuclear program.”

The statement stood in stark contrast to what was announced by Iran and confirmed by the IAEA. Iran and the IAEA were in talks aimed at boosting cooperation at the time when the European ambassadors were putting out the joint statement. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday that Iran reached a “good agreement” that could allay alleged concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. 

Speaking at a meeting with the heads of Iran’s diplomatic missions in neighboring countries on Wednesday, the foreign minister said, “Last night, we hammered out a good agreement with the Agency that can dispel alleged concerns regarding Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and result in the further continuation of cooperation with the Agency.”

The agreement involves Iran allowing the IAEA to install cameras at a centrifuge-manufacturing facility in Karaj.  

Another point that was raised in the E3 statement is the allegation that Iran is presenting “additional maximalist demands” at the Vienna talks. This allegation, too, is false. 

From the outset, the Europeans accused Iran of first not being serious and then presenting unacceptable demands that go beyond the JCPOA. 

Iran, however, showed its seriousness by presenting two draft proposals that were crafted in strict conformity with the terms of the JCPOA.

Negotiations in Vienna are proceeding on two fronts: nuclear and sanctions. Tasnim reported on Tuesday that Iran has constructively engaged on nuclear issues and presented an initiative. The Europeans and Americans, however, refused to show flexibility on sanctions-related issues.

The European and American intransigence has been the main reason why the talks moved forward so slowly, Tasnim said, adding that the Europeans are now presenting demands that fall beyond the scope of the JCPOA. 

In short, the E3 and the U.S. have held reviving the original JCPOA hostage to extract more concessions from Iran. And they have enlisted the media in doing so. 

Notwithstanding Iran’s cooperation and resilience, the Europeans, together with the Americans, are now employing a new negotiating tactic to further their goals: setting self-imposed deadlines for reaching an agreement with Iran. 

Nour News, an outlet close to Iran’s National Supreme National Security Council, reported on Wednesday that the E3 at the urging of U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley has sought to set a deadline for the Vienna talks and the cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA. 

The E3 joint statement in the UN hinted at this deadline. “We are nearing the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program will have completely hollowed out the JCPOA…. Iran’s continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road,” the statement said. 

The Western parties to the Vienna negotiations are now setting a deadline for these negotiations by the end of December, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Wednesday.

Citing Iranian sources familiar with the Vienna talks, the newspaper said, “the Western parties are taking this approach away from any coordination with the Chinese and Russian parties.” It noted that “the two parties expressed reservations and objections to the behavior that the European parties are now practicing in the negotiations.”

This may be the reason why the Russian envoy to the Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, has expressed surprise at the positions adopted by the European trio in the talks.

The sources pointed out that the Iranian negotiating team has categorically rejected any deadline for the talks, warning that setting deadlines will further complicate the talks and will produce no results.
 

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