Break in Vienna Talks Not a Dead End

Negotiators will return to Vienna as soon as political decisions are made by Washington, Khatibzadeh said
Break in Vienna Talks Not a Dead End
Break in Vienna Talks Not a Dead End

The short break in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal is not tantamount to a dead end, an Iranian senior diplomat said, adding that consultations between negotiating parties are ongoing at different levels despite the absence of delegations in Vienna, Austria. 
“This is a pause applied at the request of the JCPOA Joint Commission coordinator [Josep Borrell],” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a regular press briefing on Monday, ISNA reported. 
He used the abbreviation of the nuclear deal’s formal name, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which has been unravelling since the United States pulled out unilaterally in 2018 and Iran rolled back on its commitments in response to Washington’s reimposition of sanctions. 
Talks in Vienna, aiming to work out how both sides can resume compliance, were halted on Friday by Borrell, who said a break was needed due to “external factors”. 
“The foreign minister [of Iran] and those of other JCPOA participants, as well as top negotiators, are in constant contact,” Khatibzadeh said. 
Iranian top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is heading for Moscow on Tuesday in line with these consultations, he added. 
He said he did not expect the pause to last long, but refused to provide a time frame, saying the resumption date will be announced by Borrell and the European Union coordinator of the talks, Enrique Mora. 
Khatibzadeh said the negotiations are not at a point of declaring an agreement due to several key issues on which Washington needs to decide.
“As soon as the required [political] decisions are made in Washington, we will return to Vienna to conclude a final agreement,” he said. “At the moment, we are waiting to hear the US responses.” 



Supportive Approach

When announcing the break, Borrell did not specify what external factors had created the need. 
He is thought to have been referring to some unspecified new conditions by the US, or a demand by Russia for immunity against western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its conflict in Ukraine, which the US has insisted it will not entertain. 
Some American officials have said Washington would move toward making a deal without the presence of Russia if Moscow refuses to back down on its demand. 
Khatibzadeh said the US is not a JCPOA party and is not entitled to make decisions about the deal and its members. 
“The US had better become a committed member first and then talk about other members.”
He said it is the US wish to narrow down the whole process in Vienna to one Russian demand so that its responsibility under current circumstances falls into oblivion. 
The Russian request must by discussed in the JCPOA Joint Commission, according to Khatibzadeh, like any other “right or wrong” demand made earlier by some parties, which have been either rejected or adjusted. 
He stressed, however, that Iran’s agenda will continue to be centered on ensuring the interests of the nation under any condition. 
Highlighting the constructive role of Russia and China in the talks, he said the two countries have had the most supportive approach of all negotiators over the past 11 months. 
“We are certain that this course will continue until the end,” he said. 
Russian authorities have said in their private communications or in the Joint Commission that they would not block “a good deal”. 
“Let us not allow other narrations portray this situation in a different way.” 

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