Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy heads to Vienna to join nuclear talks

February 12, 2022 - 21:34

TEHRAN— Mehdi Safari, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy, traveled to Austria on Saturday to join the Iranian negotiating team in the Vienna talks.

Safari, a former Iranian ambassador to Russia and China, was also present at the beginning of the seventh round of the Vienna talks that started on November 29 last year. 

While in Vienna, Safari met with a number of Austrian officials on the sidelines of the nuclear talks. 

After meeting with the Austrian deputy economy minister as well as central bank and insurance chiefs, Safari told IRNA that the Austrian side is interested and optimistic in developing economic relations with Iran.

Regarding the content of his last meeting with the Austrian deputy economy minister, the Iranian diplomat said that the two sides agreed to set a 5-to-10-year roadmap for economic cooperation.

It was also agreed that Austria would cooperate closely with the Iranian ambassador in Vienna. The background work is done, according to Safari.

The eighth round of talks began on December 26 in Vienna. It is one of the longest rounds of talks so far. Participants are busy drafting the text of an agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. They should agree on some key issues.

The previous six rounds of talks were held during the administration of Hassan Rouhani. They started in April and lasted until June.

The new rounds of the Vienna were resumed after Ebrahim Raisi took office as president in Iran. 

Speaking on the sidelines of President Raisi’s meeting with foreign ambassadors residing in Tehran on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said the Vienna talks are a big litmus test for the United States.

“Today in Vienna there is a big test for the United States and the West to show their real behavior to the international community,” Amir Abdollahian said.

He stressed that the time for concluding the negotiations will be determined by the will of the Western parties to fully honor their obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Iranian diplomats in Vienna are negotiating to lift the oppressive sanctions, the top diplomat asserted.

He added, “We are present at the negotiating table with seriousness, plan and initiative, and we are determined to reach a good agreement.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary said on Wednesday that the United States is not united in making a “political decision” to advance the ongoing negotiations in Vienna intended to revive the 2015 nuclear deal ditched by the Trump administration.

“Voices from the US government show that there is no coherence in the country to make political decisions in the direction of advancement in the #ViennaTalks. The US administration cannot pay for its internal disputes by violating #Iran's legal rights,” Ali Shamkhani tweeted on Wednesday.

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