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Iran’s top negotiator: Time for other JCPOA parties to make tough decisions

Iran’s top negotiator to Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal says Tehran has already made its tough decision to save the agreement and it is now time for the other parties to act similarly for the accord.

Abbas Araqchi, who is also Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, made the remarks in a Sunday interview with the Iranian Parliament’s official news agency, ICANA, following a meeting with members of the Parliament’s Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy on the latest situation of the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has already made its tough decision. When the United States quit the JCPOA and Iran decided to stay in it, this was Iran’s big and tough decision, which has kept the JCPOA alive up to the present,” Araqchi said.

Iran’s top negotiator added, “It is now the other parties’ turn, and they must decide in view of the negotiations that we held thus far to reach a final conclusion on how to revive the JCPOA, so that the two sides could reach an agreement.”

He noted that Iran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA have so far held six rounds of negotiations in Vienna to that end and have “almost reached final stages.”

There are still outstanding issues Iran and the P4+1 group of countries have held adequate discussions about and now the time is ripe for the other side to act.

The US, under former President Donald Trump, left the nuclear deal in 2018 and initiated a “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, prompting Tehran to take remedial measures by gradually reducing its nuclear commitments under the deal.

Since April, representatives from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – have been holding talks in Vienna aimed at revitalizing the JCPOA and bringing the US back to compliance.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Saturday that Tehran and the remaining signatories to the JCPOA can still reach an agreement in Vienna only if the United States stops pursuing the failed legacy of the Trump administration.

In a tweet on Saturday, Saeed Khatibzadeh said out of a steadfast commitment to salvage the JCPOA in Vienna, Iran has been the “most active party” by proposing most drafts.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.

Now, the new US administration, under President Joe Biden, says it wants to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it is showing 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 the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.

The Iranian top negotiator in Vienna talks said last week that all documents are now almost ready for a final deal and it is time for other parties to the accord to make up their minds.

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