Iran, UK top diplomats discuss bilateral issues, Vienna talks

February 25, 2022 - 21:54

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have discussed some issues of mutual interest over the phone, IRNA reported on Thursday.

During the talks, the top Iranian diplomat weighed in on the Vienna negotiations aimed at lifting Iran sanctions and touched upon the talks he held, in Munich, with his German counterpart as well as Joseph Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“We made good progress during these talks, and the negotiating teams in Vienna are trying their utmost to reach a good deal,” said Amir Abdollahian, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

“In the meantime, to expedite efforts to reach an agreement requires serious will on the part of the Western sides to adopt brave and pragmatic political decisions to guarantee and ensure Iran’s interests, especially with regards to the objective removal of sanctions, in order to work out a lasting agreement,” said Amir Abdollahian.

He expressed hope the European countries present in the talks will, through a realistic look, play a constructive role in clinching a deal.

The two sides also emphasized that the settlement of Britain’s overdue debts to Iran is among the key issues of mutual concern, adding it is essential that the issue be resolved through proper channels and London’s arrears to Tehran be settled.

During the phone conversation, the UK foreign secretary reviewed the latest status of bilateral relations as well as talks to resolve the issue of London’s overdue debts to Tehran, and elaborated on her country’s viewpoints on that issue as well as on the Vienna negotiations.

She said Tehran-London growing ties will serve the interests of both sides.

She noted good achievements have been secured in the Vienna talks so far. However, she said the negotiations should come to an end with a result desired by all sides.

She expressed hope that bilateral issues, namely consular affairs related to prisoners as well the settlement of Britain’s overdue debts to Iran, will be resolved in the near future through constant cooperation between the two sides and based on fundamental principles.

The phone conversation between the top diplomats of Iran and the UK came at a time when the talks in Vienna are at a critical juncture after months of painstaking negotiations.

The lead negotiators in Vienna have said in unison that the talks have reached a critical point. For instance, Enrique Mora, deputy head of the EU foreign apparatus who coordinates the Vienna talks, has said that the talks are nearing their end but key issues remain unresolved.

“#JCPOA #ViennaTalks are at a crucial moment. We are nearing the end after ten months of negotiations. The result is still uncertain. Key issues need to be fixed. But all delegations are fully engaged. Intense work in Coburg,” Mora said on Twitter. 

It’s not clear which issues have not been hammered out yet. But press reports suggest that there are currently disagreements over a number of issues that need political decisions from the West, particularly the United States.

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