Foreign Ministry: Russia’s demand not mentioned in Vienna

March 7, 2022 - 21:40

TEHRAN — Speaking at his weekly presser on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the Russians’ request for guarantees from the United States has been stated in the media, and not being received diplomatically.

Khatibzadeh said that Russia is one of the negotiating parties in Vienna, and Iran must receive and consider requests within the framework of the negotiating table in Vienna.

“This is what we saw in the media, and we are waiting to see the request at the negotiating table. Iran's peaceful cooperation with the countries involved, including Russia, should not be limited to any sanctions, especially if those sanctions are self-imposed sanctions without the United Nations authorization,” he added. 

Russia on Saturday demanded guarantees from the United States that the sanctions being imposed by the West on Russia over Ukraine won’t impede Moscow’s economic and military cooperation with Iran in case the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is revived. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sanctions the West imposed on Russia over Ukraine will create a problem for the nuclear deal and demanded written guarantees from the U.S. that these sanctions won’t impede Russia-Iran cooperation in case the JCPOA is revived.

“We want an answer - a very clear answer - we need a guarantee that these sanctions will not in any way touch the regime of trade-economic and investment relations which is laid down in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the Russian foreign minister said.

He added, “We have asked for a written guarantee ... that the current process triggered by the United States does not in any way damage our right to free and full trade, economic and investment cooperation and military-technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic.”

‘We are not worried about the rhetoric of this regime’

Responding to a question by the Tehran Times correspondent about Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the regime’s moves to disrupt the Vienna talks, Khatibzadeh also said, “The actions of the Zionist regime are in European capitals and the P4+1. Russia knows, and the elites are well-aware of the extent of the regime's hostility in the international arena. We are not worried about the rhetoric of this regime.”

Moving on to the Vienna talks to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal, the spokesman said what is happening in Vienna today can be identified by two characteristics and components of “continuity and change.”

“Until the day it is agreed to make the text available to the people, I can say that what is happening today is in the direction of maximizing the interests of the nation by observing all the red lines and instructions given to the Foreign Ministry, and we are moving forward so seriously that we can maximize the interests of the nation,” Khatibzadeh said. 

The E3 (France, UK, and Germany) negotiators have returned to their capitals. Yet, the spokesman said that negotiations are underway in Vienna, and there has been significant progress in the field of safeguards and other issues in the recent days.

He also said, “I have no news that the Iranian delegation will return, and we are there within the framework of the instructions we have.” 

'Agreement in Vienna will close political claims against Iran’

International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael Grossi visited Tehran on Saturday. He held talks with Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. 

Immediately after Grossi’s return to Vienna, Iran and the IAEA issued a joint statement for closer cooperation. 

Khatibzadeh said one of the clauses in the Vienna talks is the resolution of politically motivated questions about Iran’s nuclear program. 

“Grossi's visit to Tehran was successful and there were good talks and comprehensive technical cooperation to pave the way for closing the questions between the two sides.

Of course, the timetables seen in the agreement being reached in Vienna are such that the questions are closed before them,” he explained. 

He then went on to say that there have been two different technical paths, but it is necessary to know that those who drafted the resolution against Iran at the IAEA board of governors in June 2020 were those who are currently negotiating with Iran in Vienna.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said what has been agreed between Iran and the IAEA has a time limit, and if the IAEA is ready to resolve the remaining questions in exchange for Iran's answers sooner, it will certainly not be an obstacle.

“Grossi's visit was part of a technical agreement reached between Iran and the Agency over the past few months. During Grossi's visit to Tehran, which was preceded by talks in Vienna between the Iranian delegation and the Agency’s delegation, comprehensive technical cooperation was agreed between Iran and the Agency, and we will have a multi-level agreement,” he explained.

The spokesman said that the IAEA had asked questions about some places in Iran that Iran had addressed them.

“It was necessary to know in a timely manner and agreed upon with a methodological perspective when these files would be closed and the agreement would be reached in this regard,” he noted. 

He explained that accordingly, in the next one or two months, all questions will be answered with technical cooperation between Iran and the IAEA and the superiority of the technical approach and distancing from any political approach or pressure by the IAEA.

Khatibzadeh noted that there is a direct link between the closure of these issues and revival of the 2015 nuclear deal in the Vienna talks.

“While the technical path of this agreement is maintained, it is clear that this agreement must be considered simultaneously and in part of the Vienna talks,” he noted. 

'Prisoner swap talks with U.S. have made progress’

“Iran-U.S. talks on prisoner exchanges have progressed and we are waiting for them to be concluded, and if the U.S. side fulfills its obligations and does not withdraw on the night of releasing prisoners, we can close one of the humanitarian cases that was Iran's priority,” he said.

‘Iran’s decisions are not based on opaque messages’ 

Responding to a question about the possibility of direct negotiations with the U.S., the diplomat said that Iran’s position in this regard is consistent, and has not changed.

“Iran's position has been a continuous one and there has been no change in it. Both when Trump asked to meet and take pictures and today with the new administration. The position is that we make decisions based on American behavior, not on opaque messages,” he elaborated. 

“It is clear that the United States has left the 2015 nuclear deal, and the commitments it must make are clear to us and the P4+1. To date, we have not seen any change in U.S. behavior on the ground. The same maximum pressure continues, and the prospect of any move is decided based on the interests of the Iranian people,” Khatibzadeh noted. 

The spokesman added that the remaining points of difference are “less than the number of fingers on one hand, if no one adds a new topic.”
“All the P4+1 nations are waiting for a response from the American side. If the United States has a rational approach and takes into account the concerns of the P4+1 and Iran, and if the United States responds appropriately to these requests, an agreement will be reached in the shortest possible time,” he added. 

He said Iran is in the midst of tough and comprehensive negotiations. These are negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 on the one hand and the United States and the P4+1 and Iran on the other, the spokesman explained.

“We saw different behaviors from different actors on different days.”

Khatibzadeh added, “As negotiators of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we are never surprised by the positions of countries, whether they have already announced some positions or what we hear these days.”

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