Talks to Revive Iran Nuclear Deal to Resume in Vienna

Negotiators gathered in Vienna on Monday to resume talks over reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

A new Iranian negotiating team has been dispatched to Vienna for a fresh round of nuclear negotiations.

The Iranian team is headed by Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani.

Apart from Bagheri Kani, a number of top experts in different legal, banking, and energy sectors are also included in the Iranian negotiating team.

Ali Bagheri Kani announced in a tweet that discussions would resume in Vienna on November 29.

Iran’s primary goal in the new round of Vienna negotiations on the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is to ensure the complete and verifiable removal of all sanctions, deputy foreign minister and top negotiator Ali Baqeri said.

In an article published by the Financial Times on Sunday, Baqeri slammed the Western countries, especially the US, for using talks as a tool to restrict Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

“Western countries, in particular the US, work tirelessly to portray ‘negotiations’ as merely a process to restrict Iran’s legitimate and peaceful nuclear program, which is enshrined in international treaties and watched by oversight organizations,” Baqeri said.

He emphasized that Iran, however, seeks to achieve two goals through engaging in Vienna talks.

“In this vein, we have two goals: the first is to gain a full, guaranteed and verifiable removal of the sanctions that have been imposed on the Iranian people. Without this, the process will continue indefinitely,” he noted.

Iran’s senior diplomat noted that the country’s second goal is “to facilitate the legal rights of the Iranian nation to benefit from peaceful nuclear knowledge, especially the all-important enrichment technology for industrial purposes, according to the terms of the international Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”

Baqeri also said all efforts made previously to build trust between Iran and other parties to Vienna talks have failed “mainly because the West regards any agreement solely as an established platform from which to launch more pressure against Iran”.

“This is the crux of the dispute that has forced us, six years after the initial agreement, to the table yet again,” he noted.

“We will be starting these new discussions under circumstances influenced by the unfortunate fate of the JCPOA, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally decided to abandon this deal. This was a terrible betrayal of trust for Iran and Iranians.”

He said based on Iran’s experience, the West does not seek to implement a deal, but rather, seeks to score public perception points while stealthily “dis-implementing” the agreement in every possible way.

“From our experience, this is followed by actions to ‘hijack’ the JCPOA platform to force Iran to make more concessions in areas unrelated to the nuclear issue. As a result, the Iranian people trust neither the process, nor its outcome,” he added.

Stressing that past blunders should not be repeated during the upcoming round of talks, the Iranian diplomat said all sides have learned over the past years “what and who can be trusted.”

“To ensure any forthcoming agreement is ironclad, the West needs to pay a price for having failed to uphold its part of the bargain” he asserted, adding, “As in any business, a deal is a deal, and breaking it has consequences.”

Baqeri then criticized the principle of “mutual compliance” with the deal, which has been highlighted by Western parties to the JCPOA, as an inappropriate base for negotiations.

“Iran remains committed to the process and we will adhere to our commitments. From our perspective, the principle of ‘mutual compliance’ cannot form a proper base for negotiations since it was the US government, which unilaterally left the deal,” he noted.

The deputy minister also called on the other parties to the JCPOA to provide Iran with a clear and transparent mechanism to ensure that the US sanctions will be removed.

“For what other conceivable reason would we compromise regarding Iran’s technological advances and nationally-precious domestic nuclear program?” he inquired.

Baqeri also pointed out that Iran did not succumb to the use of either military threats, economic sanctions, or “maximum pressure” under Trump, stating that the country will not do so under President Joe Biden.

“In order to secure the rights and interests of our nation, we are ready for a fair and careful discussion, based on the principles of ‘guarantee’ and ‘verification’,” he maintained, reiterating that Iran demands compensation for the violation of the deal, which includes “the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions.”

In return, he went on, Iran is ready to voluntarily fulfill its nuclear commitments in accordance with the agreement.

“We remain prepared to react proportionately to any pressure and reciprocate any goodwill gesture,”” Baqeri noted.

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