Final Decision on Nuclear Talks Hinges on US Practical Moves

Amir-Abdollahian said the US contradictory messages will not be a criterion for Iran’s ultimate decision
Final Decision on Nuclear Talks Hinges on US Practical Moves
Final Decision on Nuclear Talks Hinges on US Practical Moves

Tehran will make its final decision about returning to talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal based on the United States’ practical measures, according to Iran’s top diplomat. 
“Americans’ contradictory messages conveyed to us through diplomatic or media channels will not be a criterion for our final decision,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told IRNA upon departure from New York.  
Negotiations began in April in Vienna, Austria, to restore the nuclear deal which is on the verge of collapse due to the United States’ 2018 exit and its reimposition of tough sanctions which prompted Iran to row back on its commitments.
The talks have been halted since June, following a change of government in Iran. 
The new administration says it is reviewing the track record of previous negotiations and will return to the table “very soon”, but would not give a specific date. 
The foreign minister, who was on a five-day trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, held meetings with around 50 counterparts and top international officials on the sidelines of the gathering where he expounded the new Iranian government’s foreign policy. 
He told reporters that his meetings were focused on several topics, including international trade and economic relations. 
“The other topic … was the manner of Iran’s return to the JCPOA and Vienna talks,” he said, using the abbreviation for the formal name of the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
He added that the issue was a main subject of talks in his meetings with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and several foreign ministers such as those of France, Germany and Britain, as well as the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, who coordinates the JCPOA. 



Sequencing of Steps 

Borrell said he was hoping to convene a ministerial meeting of the JCPOA parties during the UNGA week to discuss the resumption of Vienna talks, but that proved impossible and he only got to meet Amir-Abdollahian bilaterally. 
“The most important outcome was that he confirmed that Iran would return to the negotiating table in Vienna,” he said in a statement following the UNGA’s conclusion.
Although the new Iranian foreign minister has been in office for less than a month, he stressed that the parties must return to negotiations soon and revive the JCPOA in all its aspects, “meaning a US return and a lifting of sanctions in exchange for full Iranian compliance.”
“The sequencing of these steps is the crux,” he said. 
Iran demands a complete removal of American restrictions, saying it would reverse its nuclear steps only after verifying the effectiveness of the US sanctions lifting. 
Amir-Abdollahian had earlier censured the US for showing paradoxical behavior by maintaining a thick file of sanctions against Iran while seemingly pursuing negotiations and simultaneously levying new bans.
“We will return to the negotiations and will do so very quickly, but if our counterparts don’t change their behavior we may not reach the required result,” he told The New York Times. 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also called on the US to take a more active approach to help resume the stalled talks.
“It seems evident they should be more active” in “resolving all issues related” to the accord, he told reporters in New York, according to AFP, hoping that the negotiations would resume “as soon as possible.”
Iran, for its part, made a new compromise earlier this month to retain the possibility of reviving the nuclear deal. 
The government is obliged by a parliamentary law to suspend adherence to additional IAEA Safeguards requirements. It, however, reached a deal with the agency on the verification measures, including the use of cameras at nuclear facilities, preventing a censure motion at the IAEA Board of Governors which could torpedo the talks.

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