News ID: 100141
Publish Date : 18 February 2022 - 22:18

West Resorts to Media Skullduggery in Vienna Talks

TEHRAN -- Iran has rejected a report by Reuters news agency about a draft deal in Vienna talks, saying it is only meant to boost the position of the Western parties and has nothing to do with the facts.
On Thursday, Reuters claimed having accessed a 20-page draft agreement, which stipulates a sequence of steps to be implemented once it has been approved by the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal.
It claimed that the agreement included Iran suspending enrichment above 5% purity and having about $7 billion of its funds stuck in South Korean banks under U.S. sanctions released. The draft, it claimed, also included the release of a number of Iranian nationals held over national security offenses.
The Reuters report also alleged that the removal of some particularly sensitive sanctions could require Iranian and U.S. officials to meet directly.
Nour News website, which is close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), refuted the report which “only aims to depict a false image of what is going on in Vienna in order to boost the Western parties’ standing in the negotiations and claim having scraped major concessions from Iran”.
“Iran has stated from the beginning that as long as the United States does not take the necessary steps to remove sanctions, the Islamic Republic will not do anything to reduce its nuclear activities, which are in line with its obligations under the JCPOA,” the report said, referring to the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Nour News further rejected Reuters’ claim that the release of American and European prisoners held in Iran was part of the Vienna draft agreement, stressing that the issue of a possible prisoner swap has nothing to do with the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital.
“The United States was the party that withdrew from an agreement on the exchange of prisoners, and Iran is ready to act in this regard within the framework of previous agreements,” the report said.
“Contrary to Reuters’ claim that direct negotiations between the United States and Iran are a prerequisite for reaching a final agreement in Vienna, the Iranian delegation has no plan for direct talks with the American side.”
Later Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman dismissed the report, saying “misinformation disguised as reporting is dangerous”.
“The final deal to let the U.S. return to the JCPOA will be far from the unsourced spin making the rounds. It won’t be a bilateral agreement either,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
Russia’s chief negotiator to the Vienna talks also took to Twitter on Thursday, accusing “the opponents of the nuclear deal” of “trying to create unhealthy atmosphere around final stage” of the Vienna talks.
Mikhail Ulyanov said the opponents of the deal “are becoming more and more proactive in the public space” as the negotiating parties “are getting closer to an agreement on restoration of #JCPOA.”
The Vienna talks began last April on the assumption that the U.S., under the Joe Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former president Donald Trump.
On Thursday, U.S. media reports said over 150 lawmakers had warned Biden against reaching a deal without Congress approval, vowing to “work tirelessly” to reimpose any lifted sanctions.
“We will view any agreement reached in Vienna which is not submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification as a treaty—including any and all secret agreements made with Iran directly or on the sidelines of official talks—as non-binding,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter dated Feb. 16, 2022.
Republicans have been staunch opponents of returning to the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew from in 2018.
Negotiations have so far failed to reach any agreements. Iran has demanded the removal of all sanctions imposed by the U.S.
Iran also wants a guarantee from Biden that any future administration will not withdraw from another deal.
“As duly elected representatives of American citizens across the United States, sent to Washington to check and balance the executive branch as established by the separation of powers in our Constitution, we feel compelled to remind you that you do not have the power to provide any such ‘guarantee,’” the lawmakers said in the letter to Biden.
The latest threat comes after 33 Republican senators sent a similar letter to Biden earlier this month.
U.S. reports said Iran had demanded the lifting of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from U.S. terror blacklists.
“We will oppose any attempt to rescind the designation of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization and will work to expand U.S. sanctions on all government entities, banks, companies and individuals connected to the IRGC,” the lawmakers wrote in their latest letter to Biden.
The letter provided no evidence to back up its claims or reports.