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FM: Iran welcomes negotiations, but will not engage in talks for sake of talks

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the Islamic Republic welcomes negotiations on the revival of the nuclear deal it snatched with world powers in 2015, but will not engage in talks just for the sake of talks.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a Thursday phone call with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, during which the two sides discussed matters of mutual interest to both countries as well as ways to bolster bilateral relations.

During the conversation, Iran’s top diplomat noted that although the Islamic Republic in essence welcomes negotiations on the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it believes that “engaging in negotiations for the sake of negotiations is not acceptable.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has kept its end of the bargain in maintaining the JCPOA through its strategic patience in the face of the US withdrawal and the inaction of the European side, and now it’s about time for the other JCPOA parties to cooperate and honor their commitments in a real and practical manner,” Iran’s foreign minister said.

Iran and world powers, including the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, struck the JCPOA on July 14, 2015. Under the accord, Iran agreed to scale back some of its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, the US, under former President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reinstated crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic, although the country had been fully compliant with the deal.

In early April, Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA began to hold talks in Vienna, Austria, after the Joe Biden administration voiced willingness to rejoin the nuclear agreement, three years after Trump’s withdrawal.

The negotiations were paused soon after the victory of Ebrahim Raeisi in Iran’s June 18 presidential election.

Elsewhere during the phone call, the Iranian foreign minister praised Iraq for hosting the Baghdad International Conference For Cooperation and Participation, saying the initiative was a good platform for intra-regional cooperation.

“Of course, Iraq and its sovereignty have been the target of meddlesome and irresponsible actions by some parties, including the United States, as we have seen in the cowardly assassination of the internationally renowned counter-terror hero, General [Qassem] Soleimani, and the high-ranking Iraqi commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,” he added.

Schallenberg, for his part, congratulated Amir-Abdollahian on assuming his new post, and underlined his country’s readiness to boost bilateral cooperation and provide Iran with one million coronavirus vaccine doses within two weeks.

He also thanked the Islamic Republic for its help in transferring Austrian nationals from Afghanistan and highlighted the necessity of exchanging views on the JCPOA and the resumption of the Vienna talks.

‘Negotiations must lead to sanctions removal, meet Iran’s interests’

In a separate phone conversation on Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian told his German counterpart Heiko Maas that any negotiations on the revival of the nuclear accord must lead to the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country.

“We agree on the essence of Vienna talks, but we [only] accept those negotiations that would lead to the removal of the [US] sanctions and meet the inalienable rights of Iran,” he said.

The top Iranian diplomat advised the three European parties to the JCPOA, Germany, the UK and France, also known as E3, to change course with regard to the implementation of the deal and end their inaction toward their JCPOA obligations.

Amir-Abdollahian also said the Americans do not have a correct understanding of the region and its people, particularly Iran.

“The Americans need to know that they must speak only through the language of respect, courtesy and logic, and that the language they occasionally use not only does not help resolve the problems, but creates more problems in itself ,” he emphasized.

The Iranian foreign minister then criticized the Americans for their hypocrisy, saying that they have even created obstacles to the delivery of pharmaceutical and vital products such as vaccines produced in Germany to Iran.

He was making a reference to the US claim that the sanctions don’t affect humanitarian activities, while in fact, as repeatedly stated by Iranian authorities, they have restricted Iran’s ability to transfer money, making it difficult to buy medicines and medical equipment from other countries.

Maas said for his part that his country was ready to boost its bilateral relations with Iran in different fields.

He also called for the resumption of the Vienna talks as soon as possible.

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