Zarif urges E3 to act ‘constructively’ in Vienna meeting

April 4, 2021 - 20:36

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday urged the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement – Britain, France and Germany - to honor their commitments under the pact and act constructively in the meeting in Vienna on Tuesday.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a telephone call with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, which was made on the British side's request.

The current parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – JCPOA – held a virtual conference on Friday on how to revitalize the accord now that Joe Biden, the vice president under President Barack Obama, has taken the power at the White House.

The participants at the Friday meeting agreed to hold a JCPOA Joint Commission meeting in Vienna on Tuesday.

Senior diplomats from Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China will attend the joint commission in what appears to be the first serious push to reinvigorate the deal. The U.S. will be present in the Vienna meeting. However, there will be no direct or indirect talks between Iranian and U.S. representatives

The Vienna meeting was scheduled during a virtual session of the JCPOA Joint Commission led by senior European Union diplomat Enrique Mora on behalf of Josep Borrell, the bloc’s chief diplomat.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, adopted a policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran after he quit the deal in violation of international law.

Iran was patient for one year. But with no palpable shift in circumstances, Tehran began a gradual process of reducing its nuclear undertakings. The decision was taken as Iran’s right under paragraph 36 of the JCPOA.

(Paragraph 36 provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.)

According to Press TV, during the phone call, Zarif underlined the need for the United States to fully lift the illegal and unfair sanctions against Iran in a “verifiable” manner, adding, “Only then we will return to our commitments.”

For his part, Raab said Britain will work for a fruitful new round of talks.

Also, Zarif and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian held a phone conversation late on Saturday. In the conversation Zarif called on France to live up to the JCPOA obligations and stop adhering to the U.S. sanctions.

“I urged France to show a constructive stance on the JCPOA in next week’s meeting in Vienna,” Zarif tweeted.

Malley to lead U.S. team in Vienna

The U.S. administration is sending a team of diplomats to Vienna. Washington also reportedly appointed its special envoy for Iran Robert Malley to head its team there.

While Iranian and American diplomats are not expected to meet face to face on Tuesday, the Biden administration has not been unwilling to hold direct and indirect talks with the Iranian side.

Iran rejects the notion of holding talks with the U.S. before the White House returns to compliance with the JCPOA. On Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi emphasized that the two sides would have no direct or indirect talks in the Austrian capital.

“We will have no talks, whether direct or indirect, with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 and pronounce our condition for the [U.S.] return to the JCPOA. Our demand is that the U.S. must first fulfill all its obligations and remove all the sanctions it has imposed, then we will verify and return” to the point where Iran had not taken the remedial measures yet, Araqchi said.