No Unresolvable Deadlock in Vienna Talks

Key remaining issues require special political decisions, especially on the part of the United States, Khatibzadeh said
No Unresolvable Deadlock in Vienna Talks
No Unresolvable Deadlock in Vienna Talks

Talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal are on the right track and there is no deadlock that cannot be resolved, a senior Iranian diplomat said as top negotiators return to the Austrian capital Vienna after a short break.   
“Key issues are remaining that require special political decisions, especially on the part of the United States,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a regular press briefing on Monday, ISNA reported. 
He said many tables have been prepared, parts of the brackets have been erased and agreements on ideas are now being put into words, but the US needs to make decisions about the lifting of sanctions.  
“If this happens as negotiating teams return to Vienna, one could say we are moving toward reaching a sustainable and reliable agreement at a good speed,” he said. 
Negotiations in Vienna aim to work out how the US and Iran can return to their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which restricted Iran’s nuclear program in return for the removal of international sanctions in 2015.
Iran began to exceed JCPOA limits after the US quit the accord unilaterally and reimposed a set of sweeping sanctions in 2018. 
Vienna talks are in their eighth round and have reportedly begun to make progress after they became wobbly when a new Iranian government with a stricter position took over. 



Complex Negotiation 

Diplomats from Iran and three European parties took a brief break on Friday and returned to their capitals for consultations while expert working groups carried on with their work in Vienna. 
During his two-day stay in Tehran, Iranian negotiator Ali Baqeri held meetings of coordination with all relevant top-level authorities on a tight schedule before returning to the Austrian capital on Monday morning. 
European Union envoy Enrique Mora, who coordinates the negotiating process, said the success of Vienna Talks is still “uncertain”, but added that it is only logical in such “a complex negotiation”. 
“But, as coordinator I can’t but commend delegations commitment to a success,” he said on Twitter following a meeting of the working group on the removal of US sanctions on Sunday. 
Khatibzadeh said important areas of difference remain, including the unacceptable speed of the other sides, especially the US, in presenting initiatives. 
“No initiative is seen from their side and they have acted more like listeners,” he said. 
Iran has tried to put forward proposals based on which negotiations made good progress at technical level, according to the spokesman, 
But on sanctions lifting, the talks hinge on political decisions that the other side has not taken yet, he said.



Preferable Plan A

Despite expression of optimism by some negotiating parties over the past week, the US has repeated the warning that time is running out to resurrect the JCPOA. 
“We’re very, very short on time,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a most recent remark, putting the timeline at “a few weeks”. 
He said they are looking at “other options” in close coordination with other concerned countries if they cannot achieve a mutual return to compliance through diplomacy within this timeframe.
Khatibzadeh urged the US top diplomat to try its best so that “plan A” can reach a result since a “plan B” is not appealing for any country. 
“The US foreign minister knows better that any country has its own plan B and Iran’s plan B might not be very attractive for them,” he said. 
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also recently sounded the alert, saying things are going way too slow to come to a conclusion.
“If it continues like this there will be nothing left to negotiate,” he said. 
Khatibzadeh said France can play a constructive role if it stops blame game and pressure on public opinion, keeping in mind that talks happen in the negotiating room. 
“Sometimes the European troika [France, Germany and Britain] forget that they are JCPOA members and do not represent the US in Vienna,” he said. 
He pointed out that Iran and the five remaining parties are negotiating to make sure the US returns to its commitments and ends its punitive approach toward countries, including Europeans, which intend to have normal relations and trade ties with Iran.  

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