No Need to Increase Level of Contacts With US in Vienna

The indirect communication will be replaced by other methods only when a “good agreement” is within reach, Shamkhani said
No Need to Increase Level of  Contacts With US in Vienna
No Need to Increase Level of  Contacts With US in Vienna

Iran’s contact with the American delegation in the Austrian capital Vienna, where negotiations on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal are taking place, has so far been in indirect non-paper format and will most likely remain so, according to a senior Iranian security official. 
“There has been and will be no need for any further [level of contact] than that,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Twitter. 
He added that this means of communication will be replaced by other methods only when a “good agreement” is within reach. 
Shamkhani’s remarks came following reports about the possibility of Tehran’s direct engagement with the United States in ongoing discussions on a mutual return to compliance with the nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
The US quit the landmark agreement in 2018 and Iran exceeded its nuclear limits in response. 
Since Tehran refuses to talk directly with Washington, the remaining parties have been shuttling between the two in Vienna since April to work out a way to restore the faltering deal.
However, a recent statement by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, who said that negotiation and interaction with the enemy is not tantamount to surrender, has been interpreted by some observers as a green light for direct engagement with the US in Vienna talks. 
Some media outlets went so far as to say that direct talks between the two arch-foes are about to begin.



Non-Paper Contact 

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian dismissed such reports, saying Iran’s negotiation with the US is through unofficial non-paper contact, as well as the European Union coordinator of the talks, Enrique Mora, and a few JCPOA member states, although American officials have been sending messages through various channels that they seek some level of direct talk.
“Reports in some social media channels saying that Iranians are directly negotiating with the US are untrue,” he said, ISNA reported.  
“Nevertheless, if we reach a stage in the process of negotiations where reaching a good agreement with firm guarantees requires some level of dialogue with Americans, we will not disregard it,” he added.
US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on the possibility of direct talks that “We’ve heard nothing to that effect. We’d welcome it.”
A US State Department spokesperson reiterated that the US is “prepared to meet directly.”
“We have long held the position that it would be more productive to engage with Iran directly, on both JCPOA negotiations and other issues,” the spokesperson said, according to AFP. 
Vienna talks are in their eighth round, but key issues have still remained unsolved. 
Iran says it will reverse its nuclear steps and return to the limits of the deal once it verifies that US sanctions are effectively removed. 
It also demands assurances that no future US government would violate the JCPOA again. 
Three working groups of experts are working on sanctions lifting, nuclear steps and sequencing in Vienna. 
“Today, we are at a point where we must review the results of the three committees in political interaction with all sides and decide what in exchange for what should happen,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

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