No talks whatsoever with Americans in Vienna, Araghchi says  

April 5, 2021 - 9:35

TEHRAN - Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Seyed Abbas Araghchi has ruled out any kind of talks with the United States in the upcoming meeting of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal’s signatories in Vienna.

The parties to the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are expected to hold an important meeting in Vienna on Tuesday. The meeting was arranged during the Friday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, which was held virtually.

“We will have no direct or indirect talks with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and will announce our demand and condition for returning to compliance with the JCPOA. We demand that the United States first fulfill all of its obligations and lift all the sanctions it has imposed, and then we will verify and return,” Araghchi said in remarks to Iran state TV. 

He said the Vienna talks will be purely technical, implicitly rejecting political talks with the U.S.

“Our talks with the P4+1 in Vienna will be completely technical and they will be about the sanctions that should be lifted, the measures that should be done and the sequencing of what Americans should do. There must be verification,” the deputy foreign minister pointed out. 

Following the Friday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, there has been a wave of speculation about possible direct talks between Iran and the U.S. in the next meeting in Vienna as many Western news media outlets broke the news that U.S. officials will be in Vienna at the time of the Tuesday meeting. 

The U.S. confirmed that it will participate in the Vienna meeting and said it was open to holding direct talks with Iran. 

“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Friday of the meeting in Vienna.

“We do not anticipate presently that there will be direct talks between the United States and Iran through this process, though the United States remains open to them,” he added. 

However, Iran insisted that there will be no meeting with the U.S. in Vienna. 

“The Vienna meeting which will be attended by the Iranian delegation is a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission aimed at discussing the U.S. possible return to the nuclear deal, and will be attended only by the current parties to the JCPOA. The U.S. will not be present at any meeting attended by Iran, including the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, and that is definite,” Araghchi said in a statement on Friday shortly after the JCPOA Joint Commission. 

He said it is up to other JCPOA parties if they would like to hold bilateral or multilateral consultations with the U.S. regarding the measures it must take, either in Vienna or in any other place.

“That is something which has happened before,” Araghchi said.

“The Iranian delegation, however, will not hold negotiations with the American delegation at any level,” he emphasized.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also ruled out any prospect for a meeting between Iran and the U.S.

“At virtual JCPOA JC meeting, Iran & EU/E3+2 agreed to resume in-person talks in Vienna next Tues. Aim: Rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures. No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary,” the chief Iranian diplomat tweeted on Friday.

Iran has said there is no need for new negotiations over the U.S. return to the nuclear deal. Moreover, Iran has made it clear that any step by Iran to resume full compliance with the JCPOA would require the U.S. to lift all sanctions first.

Following the Friday meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, an informed source told Press TV that the only way the United States could see Iran stop its counter-measures under the 2015 nuclear deal is for Washington to lift all the sanctions it imposed on the Islamic Republic in the aftermath of its withdrawal from the agreement some three years ago.

The source referred to the negotiations earlier on Friday within the framework of the joint commission of the parties to the deal and said Iran, during the session, emphasized the necessity of a “consistent removal” of all the U.S. sanctions and its verification before Tehran’s return to full compliance.

The source added that Iran will accept nothing from the JCPOA Joint Commission but the removal of all the sanctions by the United States. According to the source, in Friday’s meeting, the consensus in Iran on the issue was emphasized.

Iran also rejected any gradual lifting of U.S. sanctions. Araghchi said on Sunday that Iran will not accept any step-by-step process for lifting the sanctions. 

“We don’t have and don’t accept any step-by-step offer and initiative. In our view, there exists only one step according to which the U.S. must lift all the sanctions that were imposed, reimposed or relabeled under Trump. Ant these [sanctions] should be identified and the U.S. must lift them. We will verify and then return to our commitments,” Araghchi noted. 

He underlined that this “final step” should be defined. In other words, what Iran and the U.S. should do to revive the JCPOA should be specified. “This will be discussed only in our talks with the P4+1,” Araghchi pointed out. 

Earlier on Saturday, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, echoed a similar position, saying that Iran is not considering any step-by-step process for lifting the sanctions.
“As has been clearly stated many times, no step-by-step plan is being considered,” Khatibzadeh told Press TV on Saturday.

Khatibzadeh reiterated the position of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, underlining the need for the U.S. to lift all sanctions. 

“The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all U.S. sanctions, whether those which Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading,” the spokesman said.

The Leader laid out Iran’s policy on the nuclear deal in a recent speech delivered on the occasion of the Persian New Year.

He outlined a process in which the U.S. should lift all sanctions first in order for Iran to fully resume implementing the JCPOA.

“This policy is that the Americans should lift all sanctions. After that, we will verify. If the sanctions have been lifted, we will return to our Barjam [JCPOA] commitments. We will return without any problem. This is a definite policy. We do not consider American promises to be valid. If they say that they will lift them on paper, this is of no use. What is necessary is action! They should lift the sanctions in practice. Subsequently, we will verify their statements to make sure that the sanctions have been lifted. Then, we will resume our commitments,” the Leader said on March 21. Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that “this policy will not be violated in any way.”

Araghchi also said that Iran will pursue this policy in the Vienna talks.