Lawmakers to discuss Vienna talks amid nuclear deliberations

May 22, 2021 - 19:5

TEHRAN – Members of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee will hold a meeting on Sunday with relevant officials to review the latest developments concerning the Vienna nuclear talks.

The committee will hold a hearing session at first and then discuss the Vienna talks. Iranian Intelligence Minister Seyed Mahmoud Alavi is also expected to attend the meeting.

Iranian news media outlets did not specify which relevant officials will attend the meeting, but it is highly likely that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, who leads Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna, would attend the meeting to brief the lawmakers on the talks.

Araghchi has just returned to Iran after concluding the fourth round of the Vienna talks, which are aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The last meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission was held on Wednesday. After the meeting, Araghchi said good progress was made during the talks but they needed to return to capitals in order to make some final decisions.

“After two weeks of negotiations, we will have a meeting to conclude, and then the delegations will return to the capitals for consultations,” Araghchi told Iran’s state media.

He added, “There are a few key issues that need further review and decision-making in the capitals, and we hope that they will take place in the next few days and that we will be able to conclude on these issues in the next round of talks.”

According to Araghchi, intensive talks and meetings were held at all levels.  He said that Iran and its negotiating partners had bilateral and multilateral talks at expert and political levels. “During these discussions, we tried to reach a conclusion on the issues at stake, either to resolve the differences or to decrease them, and the result is that we are in a position where we can have a general conclusion,” he pointed out.

He continued, “There are some key issues that need to be resolved and there is agreement on the rest; the texts have been well written and so now is the time to go back to the capitals and have the final consultations and then continue the negotiations.”

Araghchi, along with a delegation of Iranian experts and diplomats, left Tehran for Vienna nearly two weeks ago to start the fourth round of talks over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

On Thursday night, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Vienna talks and the considerable headway made with the negotiations, according to a statement issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

In a phone conversation on Thursday night, Zarif appreciated efforts made by Borrell and his colleagues at the EU’s External Action Service.

Meanwhile, the top Iranian diplomat criticized Washington’s ongoing “economic terrorism” over the past five months as well as its continued violation of its commitments.

Zarif reiterated that it would not be acceptable to see the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden continue to use the illegal and inhumane sanctions imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump as leverage in the talks.

“A fundamental change in this approach is a sine qua non for the Vienna talks to be fruitful, and this is a political decision that the U.S. president should adopt,” Zarif said.

The recent meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission wrapped up two weeks of intensive talks at expert and political levels.

At the end of the fourth round of talks in the Austrian capital, the JCPOA Joint Commission held a plenary meeting on Wednesday at the Grand Hotel of Vienna, attended by delegations from Iran and the JCPOA member states, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

In the meeting, the heads of negotiating teams reviewed the progress made in the fourth round of talks and the latest status of the texts, and exchanged views on the path ahead.

Referring to the drafts prepared after several bilateral and multilateral meetings at different levels, the delegations expressed satisfaction with the overall trend of talks and the path taken so far, and underlined the necessity of maintaining the current fast pace of talks.

During the past two weeks, intensive negotiations and consultations have been underway among delegations, either at the level of deputies or experts.

A few hours before the plenary meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, the expert group on removal of sanctions and the expert group on practical arrangements, in a joint meeting attended by representatives of all JCPOA member states, tried to prepare the drafts as much as possible so that the heads of delegations would be able to check them and then report to their respective capitals.

As a result of these consultations and the efforts of the expert delegations of the parties involved in the talks, the drafts have been developed and revised to a large extent, so much so that except for some complicated points of disagreement which require political decisions at the capital of JCPOA member states, the rest of the text is almost ready.

Following the conclusion of this round of talks, the delegations headed to their capitals. The next round of talks is to be held next week.