VIENNA (Dispatches) – Iran’s top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said Friday the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the E3, agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as the basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks.
Iran has submitted two draft proposals that sum up the Islamic Republic’s point of view concerning the removal of sanctions and its nuclear countermeasures taken in response to the U.S. withdrawal and the Europeans’ failure to support Tehran.
“For now, we will have two new bases for future negotiations, which are different from the two bases that were finalized” in the sixth round of talks between the former Iranian negotiating team and the other parties, Bagheri Kani said.
Tehran has said it will later provide a third draft proposal on the “mechanism and time of verification and issues related to receiving guarantees to prevent the re-withdrawal of the U.S. from the nuclear deal”.
Talks aimed at removing sanctions on Iran were adjourned Friday, following a round marked by the West’s inability to come up with viable initiatives.
Participants said they aim to resume quickly, though they haven’t yet firmed up a date. China’s chief negotiator, Wan Qun, said the talks will “resume hopefully before the end of the year.” Enrique Mora, the European Union diplomat who chaired the talks, echoed that, saying: “I hope it will be during 2021.”
Bagheri Kani said the talks would continue after “a break a break of few days”.
“Following our consultations with other delegations, yesterday,
@enriquemora_& I met to take stock of the situation & discuss the way forward,” he tweeted.
“We have made good progress this week,” he stated, adding, “We will convene a Joint Commission today & will continue talks after a break of a few days.”
The current talks in Vienna between the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement - known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA - opened on Nov. 29, after a gap of more than five months. There was a short break last week as delegations returned home to consult with their governments.
“For the eighth round, we have a lot of work ahead, a very complex task, I have to say,” Mora said. “Difficult political decisions have to be taken.”
Following the U.S. decision to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran, Tehran has scaled down its compliance as per a JCPOA article that allows it to take remedial measures in response to the other parties’ failures.
Mora, the talks’ chairman, underscored that there is a “sense of urgency” to revive the 2015 agreement after the talks adjourned, though he wouldn’t set a deadline.
“We are not talking any more about months, we are talking about weeks,” he said, though he added that he could not say how many.
On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian criticized the West for its inability to present new initiatives during a phone call with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.
He said Iran attended the talks with sincerity and goodwill and has taken a series of positive measures, adding that Tehran will continue to participate in the talks in a flexible and pragmatic manner.
Iran will maintain dialogue and cooperation with relevant parties but will never accept threats or bullying, he stressed.
China supports Iran’s legitimate and reasonable demands and opposes the “wrong approach of exerting pressure at every turn,” Wang said.
Over the weekend, Bagheri Kani said the Iranian side had not received any constructive initiative or proposal from the opposite side to resolve persisting disagreements.
Iranian officials have said the reluctance of the United States to remove all sanctions on Iran is the main challenge to reviving the 2015 nuclear pact.
They say a deal is within reach if the U.S. government gives up its campaign of maximum pressure and the European parties show serious flexibility and political will in the talks.
A year after former president Donald Trump’s reimposition of draconian sanctions on Iran, Tehran began to gradually scale down its compliance. Iran wants all sanctions imposed by the United States to be removed in a verifiable process.