“All of us should not forget that what we are facing today is not an administration that wants to perform its duties, but rather, one that seeks to exploit legal means in order not to honor its obligations,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a weekly press conference in the Iranian capital city of Tehran on Monday.
Khatibzadeh further said the Vienna talks have come to a grinding halt because of such an American approach.
“The United States is trying to hold the remaining issues hostage to its internal affairs. We will not wait forever … The United States must make a political decision,” he said.
“The US is responsible for the current pause in the talks and its [possible] protraction in the coming days. The solution is in the White House too. [The US] must respond logically to Iran’s rational demands, which have been approved by the P4+1 group of countries, so that we can go back to Vienna,” the Iranian diplomat added.
Khatibzadeh said an agreement is “very much within reach” if the US becomes fully aware that Iran will neither abandon its red lines nor back down from its demands.
The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry made it clear that the top issue in the Vienna talks is for Iran to be able to fully reap the economic benefits promised under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – as the deal is officially called.
Khatibzadeh further explained that Tehran has delivered clear messages to Washington via European Union deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora, but has yet to receive a new response from Americans.
‘No answers received’
He said the 63-year-old Spanish diplomat was carrying a message from the US during his visit to Iran last month.
“Our message, responses, and demands were crystal clear … Mr. Mora left Tehran with messages and answers from Iran, and we are still waiting for the answers of the other side, but no new answer has been received yet,” Khatibzadeh said.
He also noted that the imposition of illegal sanctions has become part of US policies, stressing that the Biden administration has followed in the footsteps of its predecessor.
“The United States must accept the fact that it must enter negotiations on the basis of equal footing,” he emphasized.
Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018.
In quitting the agreement, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Joe Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.
In recent months, Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the protraction of the talks, as a number of key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.
The other parties to the talks – Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany – have also noted that the negotiators are close to finalizing an agreement.
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres that the negotiating parties in the Vienna talks are close to reaching a final agreement, adding that the ball is now in US court.