Amir Abdollahian: Iran in hurry for good agreement in Vienna talks

February 15, 2022 - 11:35

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Monday that his country is in a “hurry” for a “good” agreement in Vienna that would preserve the rights of the Iranian people.

Amir Abdollahian made the remarks at a joint press conference with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Intensive negotiations are underway in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to lift the illegal U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Amir Abdollahian went on to say that he and Coveney exchanged views about the Vienna talks, noting, “We are present at the Vienna talks with seriousness and strong negotiation motivation and (presenting) initiative.”

According to Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and other senior experts from the foreign ministry, oil ministry, economy ministry, and the central bank are continuing serious talks in Vienna with the aim of lifting sanctions and pursuing the rights of the Iranian people.

In May 2018, former U.S. president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, returned sanctions and added new ones under different names. This happened despite the fact that the JCPOA is endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Ireland has been trying to work as a facilitator for implementation of the JCPOA.

“What is important to see is what is really happening on the ground to lift the sanctions and get the other sides back to their commitments,” Amir Abdollahian asserted.

He added that Iran is serious about reaching a good agreement, saying the Western parties must stop their behavior which is based on doubts about Iran’s nuclear intentions.

And, they must also stop playing around with “time and text” and show their true intention and immediately return to their obligations under the JCPOA.

Stating that Iran will continue its activities and efforts at the Vienna talks with a “strong negotiation logic”, the top diplomat said, “Our goal is to lift the sanctions that have been cited in the JCPOA.”

“If an agreement is reached in Vienna today and sanctions are lifted, it would be better for Iran if this happens tomorrow,” he said, adding that Iran is in a hurry to reach a good agreement in the framework of “rational negotiations” and emphasis on achieving the rights of the Iranian people.

The foreign minister also commented on the statements of Western officials that the time to reach an agreement is coming to an end and whether Iran sees the will of Western countries to reach an agreement or not, saying that Iran expects the American side and the three European countries (Britain, France and German) to be serious by returning to their obligations under the JCPOA.

Even though the three European countries did not quit the JCPOA, they refused to honor their agreement, fearing the U.S. secondary sanctions.

Even in May 2019 when Iran started to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA based on paragraph 36 of the agreement, the Islamic Republic was repeatedly saying if the European parties honor their obligations, it will immediately reverse its remedial measures.

“If such a will arises and such a thing happens, reaching a good agreement is available in the short term,” Amir Abdollahian pointed out.

Amir Abdollahian then went on to say that Americans speak of goodwill through messages they have sent through various countries, but so far nothing has happened on the ground.

The minister nister continued, “We consider reaching a good agreement available, and Iran's practical, constructive and positive initiatives and proposals have paved the way for reaching such an agreement.”

He also said that threats and warnings from the other parties will not determine the conclusion of the talks.

If an agreement is reached in Vienna today and sanctions are lifted, it would be better for Iran if this happens tomorrow,” Amir Abdollahian says.

“Rather, the reality at the negotiating table and their efforts to return to their commitments determine the timing of the end of the negotiation and the reaching of an agreement,” he insisted.

Amir Abdollahian also responded to the concerns of some European countries about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, saying that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and what created the main problem in implementing the nuclear agreement is the inaction of the European parties in fulfilling their obligations and the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

The nuclear deal was signed on July 14, 2015 and went into force on January 2016.  However, Trump started venting anger at the JCPOA during his presidential campaigns in 2016, vowing to tear it up if he wins the presidency. Trump did this despite warnings by his national security advisors including defense secretary James Mattis and his first secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

“Trump’s closest national security advisors begged him not to tear up the deal. They told him the deal was working. Iran had lived up to its promises, shut down major parts of its nuclear program, and allowed the inspectors in,” Chris Murphy, a United States senator representing Connecticut, wrote in the TIME magazine on February 10.

Amir Abdollahian said, “We hope that in the Vienna talks, that will continue in the coming days, we will see the Americans and the three European countries make up for this mistake and that they will return to fulfilling their obligations.”

 ‘I hope to see reopening of Irish embassy in Tehran soon’

Referring to his consultations with the top Irish diplomat, Amir Abdollahian said that during the meeting of the Irish foreign minister with the Iranian president, the Irish ambassador to Iran presented her credentials.

“I hope to see the reopening of the Irish embassy in Tehran soon,” he added.

He then went on to say that Iran has one of the best relations with European countries including Ireland.

“We both agree that the volume of trade between the two countries has not been satisfactory, especially in the last two years, despite the various capacities that exist between the two countries,” Amir Abdollahian said.

He then added that the two sides should give priority in areas such as agriculture, food, water resources management, information and communication technology, medical and pharmaceutical industries, new technologies and renewable energy.

Of course, this does not mean that other areas will not be considered, Amir Abdollahian added.

He also said that the parliamentary relations between the two countries are of special importance. “In recent years, including in recent months, parliamentary diplomacy between the two countries has reached the necessary strength and efforts have been made to expand these relations.”

'Iran, Ireland seek inclusive government in Afghanistan’

The foreign minister also stated that Iran has supported Ireland's non-permanent membership at the UN Security Council, saying, “We consider the role of this country as one creating peace and stability in the world, and Ireland should have a role in the UN Security Council.”

“We are aware of the attention of Europe, including Ireland, to developments in the surrounding areas,” he said, referring to the two countries' consultation on Afghanistan.

Amir Abdollahian said that the two countries support an Afghanistan government with the participation of all ethnic groups.

“We welcome the provision of our humanitarian assistance and the facilitation of the delivery of aid to this country through our air, land and sea borders, and we will continue to play this important role,” he stated.

Amir Abdollahian also reiterated Tehran’s long-held policy toward the Yemen conflict, saying Iran emphasizes establishment of a ceasefire in the country, cessation of hostilities, ending the siege on the country and holding Yemeni-Yemeni talks.

He also said, “We are also concerned about the gross and systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Zionist regime.”

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