Iran holds firm on Vienna talks

April 13, 2022 - 21:24

TEHRAN – With major pending issues remaining unresolved, the talks in Vienna over the 2015 nuclear deal seem to be put on hold until mediators succeed in convincing the United States that it’s high time for making political decisions.

The U.S. however, does not seem to be grasping the gravity of the situation. According to a senior Iranian lawmaker who has just been briefed by Iran’s chief negotiator, Iran is making everything in its power to honestly push the talks forward and it is in the negotiations with the intention of reaching an agreement.

The lawmaker, Jalil Rahimi Jahan Abadi, said despite Iran’s cooperation, the other side continues to act in bad faith. The Western side does not cooperate in most matters and their behavior is dishonest, Jahan Abadi told Iran’s state news IRNA on Wednesday.

The West’s unwillingness to cooperate is on full display concerning a host of unresolved issues that put a strain on the talks, including the issue of delisting the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Iran has demanded that the Biden administration remove the IRGC from a U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations because it believes that the Trump administration’s move to designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization was politically motivated and designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Biden administration to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The U.S. first refused to delist the IRGC and is now, according to press reports, trying to keep a relatively small branch of the IRGC on the list while removing the military group from the list. 

Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar reported Wednesday that Washington made an offer to remove the IRGC from the list and instead keep the IRGC Quds Force on the list, a move that was rejected by Iran. 

Citing a diplomatic source, the Lebanese newspaper said the logic behind turning down the U.S. offer is that Iran is concerned that any U.S. decision to keep part of the IRGC under sanctions will increase the risks associated with doing business with Iran for some foreign firms, thereby reducing Iran’s economic benefits from a revived JCPOA.

So far, Iran has insisted on its position with no signs that it may budge any time soon. In fact, the odds are currently against any change in Iran’s position. In his Tuesday speech, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei praised the approach the Iranian negotiating team is taking toward the Vienna talks. 

Expressing his satisfaction with the resistance of the negotiating team to the other sides’ aggression and avarice, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution stated, “The other side withdrew from the JCPOA and broke its commitments. Now they feel helpless and have reached a dead end. But the Islamic Republic will pass through this stage as it has passed through many stages before this by relying on its people.”

Ayatollah Khamenei praised the good direction of Iranian diplomacy. “The officials should not wait at all for the nuclear issue to be resolved. Based on the realities of the country, they should plan and take action to solve the problems in the country,” he said, according to khamenei.ir. 

The Leader described the officials in charge of the negotiations as being revolutionary, pious, diligent individuals.

As things stand, the talks in Vienna are far from being concluded in the near future. And the longer they get, the slimmer the prospect of ever concluding them becomes, according to Al Akhbar.

“There is a possibility that, in the event of the impossibility of reviving the nuclear agreement, the two parties will resort to other relative and limited agreements,” the diplomatic source told the newspaper. 

In fact, the media is already abuzz with reports of Iran and the U.S. reaching a prisoner swap deal that would ensure the release of $7 billion of Iranian assets blocked in South Korea in exchange for Iran releasing three U.S. prisoners. 
 

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