UN Welcomes Constructive Vienna Dialogue on JCPOA

UN Welcomes Constructive Vienna Dialogue on JCPOA
UN Welcomes Constructive Vienna Dialogue on JCPOA

The United Nations has welcomed recent efforts by parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to hold constructive dialogue for reviving the faltering agreement. 
“We hope this is a first step in the right direction,” AP quoted UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying about UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ reaction to the recent meetings of signatories to the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  
The deal has been in bad shape since the United States pulled out in 2018 and restored tough sanctions on Tehran, to which it responded by reducing its compliance. 
The new US administration intends to rejoin but wants Iran to resume full compliance first. Iran demands a full removal of sanctions before it reverses its remedial steps. 
On Tuesday, envoys of the remaining countries met in Vienna, Austria, to discuss ways of ending the current impasse and restoring the landmark accord. 
Delegations from Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia discussed the issue during the regular meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission chaired by the European Union. The US did not attend, but is present in Vienna for separate talks with signatories other than Iran. 
While neither Washington nor Tehran say they expect any quick breakthroughs from the talks, all the participants have described the early exchanges in positive terms.



Constructive Views 

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is heading Iran’s delegation, described the developments as a “forward progress”, according to IRNA. 
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price also said the discussions were a “welcome, constructive and a potentially useful step” toward the resumption of JCPOA compliance. 
EU chief coordinator Enrique Mora said on Twitter that the meeting was “constructive” and there was “unity and ambition for a joint diplomatic process”. 
“I will intensify separate contacts here in Vienna with all relevant parties, including the US,” he added.
Russia’s delegate, Mikhail Ulyanov, also tweeted that the initial talks were “successful”.
“The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. It will take some time. How long? Nobody knows. The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is that practical work towards achieving this goal has started,” he wrote. 
Chinese UN envoy Wang Qun said after the meeting that Beijing supports the commission's efforts to ensure the full implementation of JCPOA and hopes that all parties can enhance their sense of urgency, seize the current opportunities and push JCPOA back on track through fair and reasonable negotiations.
He also reiterated that the US withdrawal from the deal and its maximum pressure campaign against Iran is the root cause of the current situation, and so Washington’s early return to the accord is the key to cracking the problem.
"The justified request of the injured party, rather than the offending party, should be confirmed and satisfied first … The US should lift all sanctions against Tehran and on this basis, Iran can resume full compliance to the nuclear deal," Wang said in a statement, according to CGTN. 



Two Working Groups 

During Tuesday talks, two working groups were set up on sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation, each tasked respectively with outlining the measures that the US and Iran need to take to resume compliance, according to Araqchi. 
“We will then discuss the issue in the Joint Commission to determine the order and priority [of the measures] and the method of verification [of the effective removal of sanctions],” he said, adding that the P4+1 countries would hold talks with the US separately.  
The working groups will carry out the task until Friday, when the Joint Commission is scheduled to convene and evaluate their work. 
“If there is progress, we will continue, and if we see they are dragging their feet in the negotiations or pursue other goals, we will naturally terminate the talks at this level,” Araqchi said.
He stressed that the technical and legal talks are about the implementation of JCPOA first by the US and then by Iran, and there will be no negotiation about the nature of the nuclear agreement, let alone issues outside the deal’s framework. 
Washington had reimposed sanctions in the hope of pressuring Iran into agreeing to more stringent terms on its nuclear activities, as well as its missile program and regional policies. The new US administration and European parties have signaled a similar ambition, which they seek to achieve through a diplomatic method.
Iran refuses to renegotiate a “done deal”, or enter into talks about its defensive power or regional policies.  
Araqchi noted that Iran would agree to no step-by-step plan, stressing that all measures must be taken in one step that Iran calls “the final status”. 

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