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Iran’s top negotiator: Effective removal of US sanctions main priority of Vienna talks

Iran’s top negotiator in talks aimed at removing US sanctions imposed on Tehran says ensuring effective removal of sanctions is the main priority of the upcoming talks in the Austrian capital.

Ali Baqeri-Kani made the remarks in a video conference with deputy foreign ministers of Russia and China, Sergei Ryabkov and Ma Zhaoxu, on Monday.

Baqeri-Kani, who serves as Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, pointed to his recent talks with officials of France, Germany, Britain and Spain about the forthcoming talks with the P4+1 group of countries, slated to start later this month, and said, “The effective removal of the illegal US sanctions is a necessity and the main priority of the upcoming negotiations.”

Recently, Baqeri-Kani traveled to France, Germany, Britain and Spain. During his tour and on Friday, Iran’s chief negotiator held talks in the Spanish capital of Madrid with EU deputy foreign policy chief, Enrique Mora, who chairs the JCPOA Joint Commission on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell.

In a post on his Twitter account on Friday, Baqeri-Kani said “effective removal of unlawful sanctions & importance of assurances on non-repetition was emphasized” during his visits to France, Germany, Britain and Spain.

During his Monday talks, the Iranian chief negotiator emphasized that the removal of all sanctions, which have been imposed on Tehran in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and and end to measures, which are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231, in a verifiable way that would help Iran enjoy the economic and trade benefits of the landmark deal are “necessary conditions” for the Vienna talks to succeed.

Baqeri-Kani said the three countries of Iran, China, and Russia see eye to eye on the need to promote multilateralism and counter unilateralism.

“The oppressive US sanctions against Iran are the price of [the country’s] fight against unilateralism,” he pointed out.

The JCPOA was unilaterally abandoned by the US in 2018 despite Iran’s full compliance with its nuclear undertakings, as repeatedly certified by the UN nuclear agency. The US then unleashed a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, which practically deprived the country of all of the deal’s economic benefits.

Iran fully honored its nuclear obligations for an entire year, after which it decided to ramp up its nuclear work as a legal “remedial measure” against the US violation of the deal and the abject failure on the part of the other signatories, the E3 in particular, to safeguard its benefits.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on November 29. The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held its presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of discussions held under the previous administration.

The US administration of Joe Biden has said it is willing to rejoin the deal, but it has shown an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure. Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before it reverses its remedial measures.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that the US needs to revise its policy of draconian sanctions against the Islamic Republic so as to help revive the JCPOA.

“The utmost must be done so that the negotiations ensure the restoration of what’s known as the ‘factory settings’ of the JCPOA,” Ryabkov said, according to TASS.

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