Iran: Vienna talks not intended to rewrite JCPOA

August 30, 2021 - 22:14

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the nuclear talks in Vienna are not intended to rewrite the text of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), noting the talks to revive the JCPOA does not need “mediation”.

The last round of talks between the remaining parties to the nuclear deal was held in June. 

The talks took place within the framework of the JCPOA Joint Commission as the Joe Biden administration expressed willingness to return to the international agreement endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231. 

The talks are led by the European Union. 

The U.S. is participating in the talks indirectly.  

“We do not have direct or indirect talks with the United States in Vienna or anywhere else, and the talks in Vienna took place between Iran and the P4+1,” the spokesman told a weekly press briefing.

P4+1 refers to the remaining permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, Britain and France – and Germany that are still party to the nuclear agreement.  

The U.S. as a permanent member of the UN Security Council quit the multilateral deal in May 2018 during Donald Trump’s presidency. 

Khatibzadeh added what the Biden administration has done so far is an insistence on the failed policies of the Trump administration. 

“If they are looking for better results. They must reconsider their behavior in putting maximum pressure on the Iranian people, which is in fact economic terrorism, and only then will they see that the path to dialogue in Vienna is going well,” he pointed out. 

The diplomat said the fact the Vienna talks have not born results so far is due to the “stubbornness and irrational behavior” of the American and Western sides, suggesting if there is a change in behavior, the nuclear deal will be revived.

The spokesman also reiterated Tehran’s long-held position that the JCPOA has nothing to do with regional issues.

“The JCPOA will be followed in a separate space from the region and will follow its own path,” the Foreign Ministry official remarked.

“Any action that is not constructive is detrimental to the Vienna talks”

Responding to a question on the conversation between the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the spokesman said the conversation was to congratulate the appointment of Amir Abdollahian as the new Iranian foreign minister. 

“In this telephone conversation, he expressed interest in having a meeting with Amir Abdollahian at his earliest convenience, and naturally in this telephone conversation, one of the topics on which he focused was the issue of the Vienna talks,” the spokesman stated.
According to Khatibzadeh, Borrell said he was aware about a change of government in Iran and these democratic changes should be allowed to take place, and at the same time demanded that the Vienna talks be resumed as soon as possible.

The diplomat added that the Iranian side also welcomed diplomacy in the phone call and emphasized that the rights of the Iranian people should be upheld in the talks. 

He underlined, “Determining the date of the new round of the Vienna talks is subject to consultation between all parties.”
It should be noted that the Vienna talks are not talks to agree on a new text, the spokesman added. 
“Rather, it is a negotiation to ensure the full implementation of the JCPOA by the United States, and what has been done in Vienna is to ensure this path, and if the United States returns to all its obligations under the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 in a verifiable manner, Iran will agree to have a seat in the room and table of the nuclear deal and Iran will stop its compensatory measures and will fulfill its obligations in accordance with the JCPOA,” he elaborated. 

The spokesman noted that the JCPOA is an international document that has been signed and sealed once and it is not possible to be changed.
“During the negotiations, we will either succeed in guaranteeing its full implementation or the JCPOA will not be revived. Each of these two paths are different; and in any case there are different options on the part of the parties in the event of the failure of the Vienna talks. Of course, it is too early to talk about these issues and we are not at the stage where we want to talk about it,” he elaborated.
Referring to the type of decision-making in Iran regarding the issue of the JCPOA and that it is a sovereign decision, he clarified that Iran never left the nuclear deal.

“We did not leave it and we are still in it, and it was the United States that pulled out of this international agreement and violated it,” the diplomat noted.

Khatibzadeh emphasized that all parties remaining in the JCPOA should be careful that the coming days are important days. 

“Pay attention to the way they speak, take positions and the efforts they make in international organizations, including the International (Atomic Energy) Agency. Any action that is not constructive is detrimental to the Vienna talks, and Iran will make its decision according to the behavior of the other parties, and what is important is that we can start the next round of Vienna talks with the P4+1,” he underlined. 

“Prisoner swap is on our agenda”

Responding to a question about the Tehran-Washington prisoner swap, Khatibzadeh said that the issue of the release of Iranian prisoners “who have been taken hostage by the United States in this country or other countries under false pretenses is not something that is off our agenda, and if the United States facilitates this issue and fulfills its obligations in this regard, this issue will in fact benefit the Vienna talks.

He continued by saying that what was agreed in this regard was not done due to the obvious “sabotage” of the United States on the last night of the negotiations, and “if the Americans act on an agreement today, these prisoners will be released tomorrow.”