Leader Endorses Diplomatic Efforts to Remove Sanctions

Leader Endorses Diplomatic Efforts to Remove Sanctions
Leader Endorses Diplomatic Efforts to Remove Sanctions

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said diplomatic efforts to revoke sanctions are worthy, alongside domestic activities to neutralize the restrictions and counter economic pressure.  
“Diplomatic efforts are good, like our good brothers are working to remove sanctions and convince the other side,” he said in a videoconference address to the people of East Azarbaijan Province on Thursday, reported. 
He made the remarks in reference to negotiations in the Austrian capital Vienna which aim to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which lifted international sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program. 
The agreement has been unravelling since the United States pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions that prompted Iran to react by rolling back on its nuclear commitments.
The Leader highlighted the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, saying that the source of energy is among the fundamental needs for the future of the country, which is why the enemies are focusing on such activities and making baseless statements such Iran’s closeness to building an atomic weapon. 
“The reason the enemies’ front is putting emphasis on Iran’s nuclear program and imposing cruel sanctions, in spite of their knowledge of the our peaceful utilization, … is to prevent the country’s scientific progress to meet future needs,” he said.
In negotiations to revive the 2015 deal, Iran says it will reverse its nuclear steps and return to JCPOA limits once it verifies that US sanctions are effectively removed and it can enjoy the economic benefits of the agreement in full. 
It also calls for guarantees that a future US government would not abandon the deal again. 



Closer than Ever 

The Vienna talks have been underway since April and are reportedly nearing a conclusion in their eighth round. 
Iran’s top negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said on Wednesday that “after weeks of intensive talks, we are closer than ever to an agreement.”
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, though,” he tweeted. 
He called on negotiating partners to be realistic, avoid intransigence and heed lessons of past four years. 
“Time for their serious decisions.”
Western parties, however, assert that the ball is in Iran’s court.  
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday that an agreement on salvaging the deal was “just days away”, but added that it was now up to Tehran to make the political choice.
In a recent report, Reuters cited three diplomats familiar with the negotiations, that a draft text of the agreement has been prepared which “stipulates a sequence of steps to be implemented once it has been approved by the remaining parties to the deal, starting with a phase including Iran suspending enrichment about 5% purity.”
The text, that Reuters claimed was over 20 pages long, “also alludes to other measures that diplomats say include unfreezing about $7 billion in Iranian funds stuck in South Korean banks … as well as the release of Western prisoners held in Iran.”
“Only once that initial wave of measures has been taken and confirmed, would the main phase of sanctions-lifting begin,” the report said. 
Tehran refuted the Reuters claim, stressing that it only aims to depict a false image of what is going on in Vienna in order to boost the Western parties’ standing in the negotiations.
“Iran has stated from the beginning that as long as the United States does not take the necessary steps to remove sanctions, the Islamic Republic will not do anything to reduce its nuclear activities, which are in line with its obligations under the JCPOA,” said a report by Nour News, a website close to the Supreme National Security Council.
The report also stressed the issue of a possible prisoner swap has nothing to do with the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also reacted on Twitter, saying “Misinformation disguised as reporting is dangerous.”
“The final deal to let the US return to the JCPOA will be far from the unsourced spin making the rounds. It won’t be a bilateral agreement either. Expect more spin as we approach final days,” he added. 
In a tweet, Russia’s representative blamed it on “opponents of the nuclear deal” who are “trying to create unhealthy atmosphere around final stage of the #ViennaTalks.” 

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