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Iran Criticizes G4+1 for Empty Hands in Vienna Talks

Iran’s top negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said that the world powers participating in the Vienna talks on the removal of sanctions against Tehran have not presented any initiative or proposal yet.

Removal of the illegal and cruel US sanctions and Iran’s nuclear activities are two main sticking points in the current talks over which there still remains a host of differences between the two sides, Baqeri Kani told presstv in Vienna on Sunday.

The Iranian diplomat added that despite this situation, Iran’s delegation has informed the opposite side of its views on differential points through modifications and proposals that it has offered the opposite party.

“When it comes to these points of difference, we have so far received no proposal and initiative from the opposite side,” Baqeri Kani said.

Iran’s lead negotiator further stated that the removal of the illegal and cruel US sanctions and Iran’s nuclear measures are the most important bones of contention between the two sides during Vienna talks over which many differences still remain unresolved.

“…These differences are clearly visible in the final draft that was achieved following the sixth round of talks in Vienna… The differences, specially on the nuclear issue, are numerous and varied.”

Baqeri Kani noted that during past few days, many sessions have been held both at the expert level and among chief negotiators to discuss modifications, viewpoints, and proposals offered by the Iranian side, which had been applied to the text of drafts drawn up during the sixth round of Vienna talks.

In an interview with Iran’s state TV earlier on Sunday, Baqeri Kani, who also serves as deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said the general atmosphere in the ongoing Vienna talks is very serious, adding that he is optimistic that a final agreement would be reached.

He added that Iran and the five remaining signatories to the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are holding talks on a host of issues during the seventh round of the Vienna negotiations, and have reached agreements on some of them, though a comprehensive agreement has not yet reached on many issues.

“For example, when it comes to Iran’s nuclear activities, an agreement has been forged between the two sides on some of [outstanding] issues, but there are other issues in this area…which still remain to be agreed upon and negotiations on those issues will continue,” said Baqeri Kani.

The JCPOA was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018. Trump then targeted Iran’s economy with what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign, which failed to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal”.

Also, in an interview with the Islamic republic news agency, Baqeri Kani said that the differences between the two sides on the scope of talks are being reduced.

The positions of the two sides are different from each other and their distance is different on different issues, he said.

Baqeri Kani, however, noted that the two sides have had talks about the scope of talks over the past few days.  

He pointed out that all the parties are reaching a conclusion about the issues to be discussed in the negotiations and the differences in this regard are narrowing down.

The Iranian diplomat said that this is major progress as the initial differences were about the scope of discussions.

Asked about some unconstructive comments by three European parties to the talks (E3), he said that all the parties have come to the negotiation table with firm resolve and it is nonetheless natural that each party with making its best to have more gains from the talks.  

About the media hype on the negotiations, Baqeri Kani said that the party that leaves the negotiating table with an empty hand tries to compensate with such fabricated and even fake media hype.

Iran and the five remaining parties (Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing Washington’s unlawful sanctions after the US voiced interest to return to the agreement.

Last week’s discussions followed a five-month hiatus that saw President Rayeesi come to office and Iran send a new team of negotiators to Vienna.

The fresh round of talks between the two sides started on Thursday.

Iran wants all sanctions imposed by Washington after it left the deal to be removed in a verifiable process.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined Iran’s resolve to reach a “good agreement”, saying the Western sides have talked the talk in recent years but it is high time they walk the walk as well to secure a serious, good deal.

“We are all in Vienna to negotiate to reach a good agreement,” he wrote in a post on his Instagram page on Thursday night, hours after the new round of talks began. 

“The Western parties need to know that in the last eight years, enough words and empty promises have been uttered, but today, it is time to act,” Amir Abdollahian noted.

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