UN Welcomes Restart of Talks on JCPOA Revival

Amir-Abdollahian said the new administration would not disregard the progress made in the past rounds, but reserves the right to discuss the areas of difference with its own considerations
UN Welcomes Restart of Talks on JCPOA Revival
UN Welcomes Restart of Talks on JCPOA Revival

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the restart of negotiations on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, expressing hope about the fruitfulness of the process. 
In a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian late on Monday, he stressed the necessity of efforts by all sides to build up “mutual trust” and expressed the UN’s full support for the restoration of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He also described Iran’s demand for a verifiable removal of sanctions as “reasonable”, according to ISNA.  
The JCPOA went out of shape when the United States pulled out unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions that prompted Tehran to react by scaling back its commitments.  
Talks began in Vienna, Austria, in April to work out how both sides can resume compliance. After six rounds, the negotiations were adjourned in June due to a change of government in Iran, but were eventually restarted on Monday. 
Amir-Abdollahian said despite the unfaithfulness and inaction of the US and three European countries, Tehran has engaged in Vienna negotiations with “goodwill and seriousness” and seeks to reach a “good agreement”. 
“The other parties must completely return to their commitments, in which case, Iran would stop its countermeasures as well,” he said. 
It is also important that any agreement must be verifiable in an effective manner, he added. 



Past Rounds 

The foreign minister said the new Iranian administration would not disregard the progress made in the past rounds, but reserves the right to review and discuss the areas of difference with its own considerations.
Following the JCPOA meeting, Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, suggested Tehran had not rejected outright the results of the previous six rounds of talks held between April and June.
“They have accepted that the work done over the first six rounds is a good basis to build our work ahead… We will be of course incorporating the new political sensibilities of the new Iranian administration,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Iran’s top negotiator Ali Baqeri also said changes would be made in the form and content of the course of negotiations, but refused to provide details. 
Speaking to reporters following the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting, he said the negotiating parties showed collective determination to help advance toward a final agreement. 
He described the meeting as “positive”, saying he was “optimistic” about the talks. 
“Iran emphasized that the main agenda of the negotiations must be the removal of illegal and cruel American sanctions, to which the other members unanimously agreed,” he said, adding that other issues should be discussed after this topic. 
Along this line, a working group on sanctions-lifting, comprising of expert teams from Iran and the other parties, convened on Tuesday, while the other expert group on Iran’s nuclear steps was set to discussions the following day. 



No Step-by-Step Approach  

Baqeri said the requirements for the easing of sanctions must be carefully observed, including assurances that show the US government and other members cannot exit the deal. 
Guarantees are also needed that sanctions will not be renewed or added to, and mechanisms envisioned in the JCPOA will not be used again on every excuse.     
Iran demands an effective and verifiable removal of all sanctions at once, while the US insists on a “mutual” return to compliance. 
Asked about a potential “step-by-step” lifting of sanctions, Baqeri said Iran’s stance is firm and “sanctions must be removed all at once.”
Mora also confirmed that Iran stuck to this demand, although saying that he felt “extremely positive” about what he saw on Monday. 
A European diplomat, on the other hand, struck a pessimistic note, saying the Iranians stuck to and ant times toughened their positions, which was hardly encouraging.
The diplomat said matters would become clearer when detailed talks on sanctions take place on Tuesday and on nuclear issues on Wednesday.
Jalina Porter, principle deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, said Washington has been sincere and steadfast in pursuing a path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve “a mutual return” to compliance with the JCPOA and also to address a full range of concerns with Iran. 
“If Iran demands more or offers less than a mutual return to compliance, these negotiations will not succeed,” she said at a press briefing Monday. 



Adherence to Pledges

Despite Iran’s strict stance, President Ebrahim Raeisi reiterated Iran’s pledge to return to its commitments as per the original text of the JCPOA once the other sides do the same. 
“If the Americans revoke the sanctions and Europeans fulfil their obligations, there is no need for concern about the implementation of commitments by Iran, because we have repeatedly proved in practice that we adhere to our commitments,” he said in a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday.
Those who started violations of the deal must gain the trust of the other side so that the negotiations can progress in a realistic and fruitful way, according to the president. 
He stressed that Iran seeks to achieve a result and the negotiations must lead to sanctions lifting, reported. 
Raeisi called on the French president to work with other participants to direct the course of Vienna talks toward this outcome.
Macron said the JCPOA is a joint responsibility of all members, highlighting his constant efforts to bring all sides back to compliance. 



Successful Finalization 

Heads of the Russian and Chinese delegations held a meeting with representatives of the US, who is not directly engaged in the talks. 
Russia’s Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter that together with Wang Qun of Chine, he met with US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley. 
“We exchanged views on the resumed #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA and confirmed common determination to work for their successful finalization,” he said. 
The Russian foreign ministry had earlier said in a statement that “the start of the negotiations is assessed by the participants as positive and constructive, inspiring some optimism.” 
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said with the resumption of talks, the JCPOA issue faces a new opportunity as well as new daunting challenges. 
At a press conference on Monday, he said the US, as the culprit of the crisis, should naturally remove all illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran and third parties including China.
“The rights and interests of all sides in conducting normal economic and trade cooperation with Iran should be respected,” he said. 
He also stressed that all sides should remain objective and rational and avoid disrupting diplomatic efforts with drastic words and actions.

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