Moscow seeking to hold Iranian-Arab conference: Russia FM

January 15, 2022 - 21:24

TEHRAN - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced that Moscow is seeking to hold an Iranian-Arab conference whose agenda will include the most pressing regional issues.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Lavrov said the conference would address issues such as the conflict in Yemen and Iran’s missile program, according to U News.

The Russian foreign minister also addressed the talks in Vienna over how to lift U.S. sanctions on Iran through reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He expressed “Moscow's opposition to the West's attempts to impose additional conditions for the resumption of the nuclear agreement with Iran, including, in particular, imposing restrictions on Tehran's missile program and the behavior of the Islamic Republic in the region.”

He continued, “We strongly opposed this, and if this approach prevailed, it was not fair, because the talk revolved around the complete resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was ratified by the UN Security Council in its original version after the Trump administration withdrew from it.”

The foreign minister pointed out that the international powers were eventually able to agree to follow this approach, which was supported by Russia, adding, “As for the missile program and behavior in the region, our position is that there are many complaints from all countries in the region and beyond about each other.”

He added, “There are countries, each with interests outside its borders.”

According to the Russia TASS news agency, Lavrov also said that real progress has been achieved at the Iran nuclear deal talks.

“There has been real progress […] on the Iranian nuclear program; there is a real desire, between Iran and the U.S., first and foremost, to understand concrete concerns and understand how these concerns could be accounted for in the general package," the minister said, according to TASS.

Lavrov underscored that "it could only be a package solution," just like the nuclear deal itself.

"The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a package solution," he noted.

According to the minister, the experienced negotiators in Vienna "have already penetrated minute details of this negotiation matter" and "are making good progress."

"I am knocking on wood, but we expect the agreement to be achieved," he concluded.

Negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries are underway in Vienna with the heads of delegations returning to capitals for more consultation. The talks, however, continues in the Austrian capital at expert level.

In line with an agreement between the heads of negotiating teams, the chief negotiators of Iran and the three European countries returned on Friday to their respective capitals to handle their political affairs and to hold some consultations for two days.

However, expert negotiations are continuing non-stop and the return of chief negotiators to their countries does not mean the 8th round of talks has stopped, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

The Vienna talks continued on Thursday at the two levels of chief negotiators and experts.

Iranian lead negotiator Ali Bagheri held talks separately with Enrique Mora, the talks coordinator, and the head of Russian team Mikhail Ulyanov.

Bagheri also held meetings with the chief negotiators of the three European parties to the talks.

Meanwhile, some sessions were held at expert level bilaterally and multilaterally.

On Friday, a senior Iranian cleric said the West tries to prevent the removal of sanctions against Iran.

Tehran's provisional Friday Prayers Leader Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Javad Hajaliakbari blasted the Western countries for hatching plots and trying to prevent the removal of unlawful sanctions imposed by the U.S. against the Iranian nation, and called on the country's negotiators to beware of West's mischievous moves, Fars News reported.

Addressing a congregation of worshippers at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Grand Mosalla (congregational prayers site), Hojjatoleslam Hajaliakbari said, "The negotiators in the Vienna talks should courageously neutralize the enemy's plots on the removal of the U.S. sanctions."

"We are in no hurry in the negotiations, but we will not allow the negotiations to last too long," he added.

Also on Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi highlighted his administration’s commitment to efforts at the removal of the sanctions, but noted that it does not condition such efforts to the results of the Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a Tasnim report.

“Although the pursuit of removing sanctions is a serious agenda of the government, the effort in the thirteenth government to neutralize the sanctions has not been dependent on negotiations, so that today and under the sanctions situation, our oil sales have increased so much that we no longer worry and the proceeds are also returning to the country,” President Raisi said on Twitter.

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