Senior MP elaborates on some aspects of Vienna talks

December 18, 2021 - 21:22

TEHRAN — Speaking on a live TV program on Friday night, head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament touched on many issues, including the Vienna talks.

Vahid Jalalzadeh said one of the issues that were raised by the Europeans in the new round of negotiations in Vienna was the previous six rounds of talks that were conducted between April and June. 

“First of all, we do not believe in the previous six rounds of the Vienna talks. These talks are a new negotiation. Why? Because the new government has a new instruction,” he said. 

He added that the Europeans insisted on starting the negotiations from where it was left off in June and just discuss the remaining parentheses. 

“The parentheses are where either we or the 4+1 had concerns. They told us not to deal with other cases. In other words, in the previous negotiations, we accepted things that the new government does not accept now, and even contradict the parliament’s law on Strategic Action and Lifting of the Sanctions,” he noted. 

The senior MP then went on to explain that Iran presented three lists: One was the “red” list that Iran said these cannot be negotiated. The next one was a middle list that Iran labeled as “yellow” and could be negotiated in the sense that for example if the 4+1 won’t accept the paragraph 2 of the yellow list, Iran would not accept paragraph 4 as well in response to this request or demand. The next one was a “white” list that Iran said could be bargained over if it is very good and beneficial, if not, we will not fight over these issues.
He then elaborated, “For example, according to [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 2231, the conventional arms embargo should have been lifted around December last year. The Americans do not accept this.”

Jalalzadeh said on the American red list 1,500 sanctions remain on individuals and legal entities and this is a “political scam” by the American side. 

According to the MP, the previous American administration knew that the next government, if a Democrat, would want to return to the JCPOA, so they re-labeled some of the nuclear sanctions under “terrorism sanctions.”

“The new government says that the central bank is no longer nuclear, but it is in the terrorism sanctions list, so if you want to remove the central bank [from the list of sanctions], you have to negotiate on the terrorism sanctions list as well. We have warned the negotiators the same thing before, that you know that Trump did the same thing and that it [the CBI] has nothing to do with terrorism and human rights, but they approved (it as an entity under terrorism list) and they do not let it go… Sometimes the European troika said that we finished 90, 95% of the work, look at the volume [of the work], what was the remaining 5%?”

New government wants to maximize JCPOA benefits

The senior MP said that the new Iranian government and the new delegation is seeking to use all the capacities to maximize the benefits of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

“The new government's strategy is to maximize the benefits of the forthcoming negotiations; the other side has also received this message in full. When Mr. Amir Abdollahian went to the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Americans had sent a message that we were ready - with the same lexis - to give you 15% more than before!” Jalazadeh said without giving further details. 

He added that therefore, the Americans had requested that the secretary of state meet with his Iranian counterpart in the United States, but the request was turned down by Amir Abdollahian as he had neither instructions nor permission to negotiate directly with the U.S. 

“So they received the message that the officials are united, so the main strategy is that we can serve the interests of the country in these negotiations,” he noted. 

He then referred to the fact the new negotiators may have initially opposed the JCPOA upon its signing, but now they are trying hard to reach an agreement on the basis of it.

“I myself have some concerns about the 2015 nuclear deal, but we are committed to what the government of Iran has accepted. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution extended nine requirements to the implementation of the nuclear pact when the JCPOA was signed. Take this into consideration that we are now negotiating on the JCPOA,” he remarked.

He then expressed hope that the result of the new round of negotiations, which should not be protracted at all, are not “talks for talks” at all, as demanded by the president from the negotiating team. He then added that other side is looking for the prolongation of the talks.

Bagheri negotiates on the basis of the JCPOA

Jalalzadeh also said that Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani entered the negotiations despite all his objections to the JCPOA.

“[The JCPOA] is the format on which he [Bagheri Kani] goes forward and negotiates. So I think this is more of a psychological war from the other side (that Bagheri opposed the deal in the past). The foreign minister mentioned this point and some other people said that too. We also told Mr. Bagheri that this is just some words and this is a psychological war,” he added. 

He then went on to discuss the Leader’s opinion, asking, “What did the Leader say? Lifting of sanctions, verification, and then, a full return of the Islamic Republic to its obligations. The issues we have with the Europeans, and especially with the Americans, are the second step: verification. They say that we will give you one day to verify us, the previous government wanted to agree on the one-day period.”

The senior MP then criticized the “long day” proposal, saying that it is impossible to verify the sanctions-removal process in 48 hours. 

“They say it is a ‘long day’; but what does long day mean? They do not want to back down from one day, then they say, well, let's say a long day! We say long day means what they say, which is a 48-hour span. In 48 hours, can we receive a bank check, sell our oil, get the money, put it in a bank account, then turn it into a commodity and import it? They say about their own SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system that the software you (Iran) have is old. They say the banking transactions and the SWIFT software training takes two months,” he elaborated.

Jalalzadeh elaborated on Iran’s response to the “long day” proposal, saying that the Leader rejected the premise. 

“We said: do you think we are a child? The Leader says that the verification is not possible in short term. The Europeans were not faithful to their promise. What commitment has the Europeans made to the JCPOA? Even when Trump left, the Europeans sent us a quick message and told us not to get angry, as we will fulfill all American commitments! Someone needs to fulfill the commitments of the Europeans!” he noted. 

Later in the talk show, the senior MP explained about the IAEA surveillance cameras. 

“The cameras installed based on the Additional Protocol (to the NPT) were recording offline, in the sense that they have memory cards and it was stored, but the [International Atomic Energy] Agency inspectors came to replace the memories, to put new ones,” he noted. 

He added that the cameras are now recording, but the memories will not be given to the Agency. 

“These are stored in our own storage units. Why does this happen? One reason was the one Mr. Grossi gave, and I thought it was rational, that if the negotiations came to an end and these cameras were cut off and not filmed, it would be an excuse for the enemies of Iran that these two, three, or six months, or even one year in which no recording was made, what happened in Iran's nuclear facilities?”

Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian announced on Wednesday that Iran has reached an agreement with the IAEA.

“Last night, we reached a good agreement with the Agency that could dispel some of the alleged concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program and lead to continued mutual cooperation with the Agency,” Amir Abdollahian told the last day of the conference of the heads of Iranian diplomatic missions in neighboring and regional countries. 

However, the foreign minister criticized the Agency for resorting to the technical issue to "affect the Vienna negotiations" on some occasions.

According to sources, the agreement that Iran and the IAEA have reached is to replace the cameras in the Tesa centrifuge assembly site near Karaj.

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