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Friday, December 3, 2021

Russia to insist on full implementation of nuclear accord in upcoming Vienna talks

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Qatar’s foreign minister reiterated support of returning to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Russia is going to insist on the resumption of the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal during the upcoming round of multilateral talks in Vienna, The country’s state news agency [TASS] reported on Saturday.

“It means that the United States should resume the implementation of its commitments, including lift all the sanctions imposed in the context of the JCPOA,” stated Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Moscow’s top diplomat also said that the Iran nuclear deal was among the topics discussed on Friday during the 2+2 meetings in Paris between the Russian and French defense and foreign ministers.

Talks aimed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] are set to resume on 29 November and will be the first round of negotiations to take place during the tenure of Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi.

Indirect US-Iran talks kicked off in Vienna in April this year to revive the 2015 nuclear accord but adjourned following the sixth round in June. The talks were put on hold as Iran’s elections took place, which saw the victory of Raisi, who is considered by analysts as a “hardliner”.

When former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, he imposed stifling economic sanctions on Iran in a bid to apply what his administration described as “maximum pressure” on Tehran. In turn, Iran stopped abiding by its nuclear commitment by enriching uranium at its highest level.

Read also: Iran says Vienna talks to only focus on US sanctions

Tehran has long defended its nuclear program, insisting it is peaceful while demanding Washington lifts sanctions on the country.

Last week, Iran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani said there will be no negotiations on the nuclear accord itself at the Vienna talks later this month, stressing only US sanctions should be discussed.

“We do not have nuclear talks, because the nuclear issue was resolved in 2015 in the form of an agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1,” Bagheri-Kani, Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs, told Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting [IRIB] News Agency.

The Iranian negotiator concluded a European tour of France, Germany, Britain and Spain, where he said he had “serious and constructive talks” with officials including the EU’s mediator Enrique Mora.
Meanwhile Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Friday that he was optimistic a “good agreement” can be reached by the Islamic Republic and the remaining parties of the nuclear accord “in a short time”.

“The Islamic Republic has no intention to be locked in the stalemate remaining from the previous negotiations…I believe that if the opposite sides enter in the Vienna [talks] with a serious and positive approach, it will be possible to achieve a good agreement in a short time,” Amir-Abdollahian said in an Instagram post.

Russia’s top negotiator at the talks Mikhail Ulyanov responded to Amir-Abdollahian’s comments, saying that Russia “proceeds from the same understanding.”

Countries beyond the p4+1 have been calling for the resumption of talks aimed at restoring the JCPOA, citing concerns over tensions between Tehran and Washington.

On Friday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani encouraged Iran and the US to return to the JCPOA “as soon as possible and not to escalate”.

“We use this relationship [with Iran] as a good way to engage, to communicate, to facilitate if there are any needs from our allies here in the US that we can support with Iran,” said Sheikh Mohammed in a joint presser with his American counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington, responding to a question over Doha’s ties with Tehran.

The Qatari diplomat noted that having an unstable region does not serve anyone’s interest, whether it is in the GCC or the US and that he does not want to witness a “nuclear race”.

“We see that the nuclear issue is a very eminent issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” said Al-Thani during the conference on the sidelines of the fourth Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue.

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