Iran FM, EU foreign policy chief discuss Vienna talks

February 6, 2022 - 21:44

TEHRAN – The European Union foreign policy chief spoke over the phone on Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian to discuss situation around the talks in Vienna aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers. 

Josep Borrell, the lead coordinator of the Vienna negotiations, said the talks are at a critical juncture. The EU foreign policy chief added that all sides are expected to come to Vienna with a clear agenda and with the aim of reaching a deal and should be ready for adopting political decisions, according to the Iranian foreign ministry. 

In the telephone conversation, Amir Abdollahian also thanked Borrell, Enrique Mora and the EU for their efforts to coordinate the talks in Vienna. The Iranian foreign minister said since the previous round of the talks, there have been some positive developments in the negotiations but they fall short of meeting Iran’s expectations.

“We are decisively and explicitly after a good deal, but we also insist on safeguarding our red lines and national interests with the same level of decisiveness and explicitness,” the top Iranian diplomat stressed. 

Elsewhere in his comments, Amir Abdollahian said the nuclear deal – JCPOA - has unfortunately provided no economic benefits for Iran in recent years. The Iranian foreign minister added, “We will reach a good deal only if it realizes our economic interests sustainably and reliably.”

At the end, Amir Abdollahian once again underlined that Iran is determined to reach a good deal and to this end, it will remain in constant and close contact with the EU as the coordinator of the JCPOA.

On Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister also said Tehran is seeking a good agreement in Vienna. “We did not receive any preconditions from the American side. Negotiations are based on expert views and agreements, the end result of which is to reach a good agreement and ensure the interests of the country,” he said. 

He added, “The Americans send us repeated messages through some intermediaries claiming that we have good intentions, but we have not seen any serious and significant initiative on the part of the Americans in the current process of negotiations.”

The chief diplomat noted, “We are looking for a good agreement and we are not looking for an interim and limited agreement.”

During a visit to the shrine of Imam Khomeini on Saturday, the foreign minister also underlined the need to get guarantees in case a deal is made in Vienna. 

He reiterated that Iran is “serious” about getting guarantees in the Vienna nuclear talks that the U.S. won’t renege again on its commitments.

Amir Abdollahian described the issue of getting guarantees as “a basic” one and said that Iran’s negotiating delegation in Vienna is seriously seeking to get “tangible guarantees” and bring the Western side back to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA.

He also said that Iran has partly succeeded in securing some economic and political guarantees. 

“What the Iranian negotiating team is seeking at all levels is political, legal and economic, in parts of which agreements have been reached, but still the Iranian negotiating team is serious about taking a tangible guarantee from the Western side,” he said, according to state news agency IRNA. 

He added, “We have made it clear to the American side, which conveys messages through intermediaries these days, that they must show their good faith in action. Goodwill in practice, in our view, is something tangible happening on the ground.”

The Iranian foreign minister noted, “The lifting of some of the sanctions, in an objective and real sense, can be a translation of the goodwill of the Americans of which they talk. What is happening on paper is good but not enough.”

In a phone call with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa on Thursday morning, the Iranian foreign minister said Tehran stands ready to reach a good, lasting and reliable agreement in Vienna.

The talks are set to start after a weeklong break that was meant for consultations in capitals. 

Iran has assessed the situation in Vienna as “forward-moving” and “positive” but it said the ball is in U.S.’s court in terms of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Before returning to the Austrian capital, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani briefed the members of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on the latest developments in the Vienna talks.

After the briefing which took place last week, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, the spokesman for the parliamentary committee, said the time is ripe for reaching a “good and win-win deal” on the condition that the West shows seriousness and goodwill.

Speaking to the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA), the spokesman gave some details about the meeting that the committee members had with Baqeri Kani.

During the session, the spokesman said, a report on the Vienna negotiations has been presented and the questions of the lawmakers have been answered.

According to Meshkini, Bagheri Kani assessed the negotiations process positively and said that Iran is participating in the talks with goodwill and seriousness.

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