Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he is cautiously optimistic about “progress” made in ongoing negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at securing the removal of all US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Speaking in an annual press conference on Friday, Lavrov said he was optimistic about the direction of talks over the revival of the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was abandoned by the US three years after its conclusion.
“There’s real progress. There’s real desire – primarily between Iran and the United States – to understand specific concerns and how these concerns can be considered in the general package” of documents, the top Russian diplomat said. He added that the two sides are making “good progress at the moment” and would “come to an agreement.”
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – resumed talks in Vienna on January 3 after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018.
The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all sanctions that the United States imposed on Iran.
During the previous round of the talks, the first under Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table to help the talks move forward and later criticized the European signatories of the JCPOA for failing to follow suit and remaining passive.
One year after Washington’s exit from the deal and the failure of the European signatories to uphold their commitments under pressure from the US, Iran took a set of retaliatory steps away from the deal in several stages in line with its legal contractual rights.
With a new administration in office in the US, Washington says it wants to rejoin the deal, but it has been dragging its feet in removing the sanctions on Iran. Tehran has been firmly insisting that the US must first remove the sanctions in a verifiable manner, give guarantees that it will not leave the agreement again, and compensate for all the damages inflicted on Iran due to Washington’s unlawful pullout.
Iran chief negotiator meets JCPOA Joint Commission coordinator, E3 envoys
On the 16th day of the eighth round of talks between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries, Bagheri Kani also held a meeting with representatives of the three European signatories to the JCPOA.
Speaking in a televised interview whose text was published on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said it is possible for the negotiating parties in Vienna to reach a good agreement in the shortest possible time if there is serious will on all sides.
Iran’s top diplomat said, “If there is serious will, we will be able to reach a good agreement in the shortest time, and as of today, we believe that negotiations are positive and moving forward.”
Iran, E3 negotiators return to capitals for consultations
Senior negotiators of Iran and the three European parties to the JCPOA agreed to temporarily adjourn the talks for two days and return to the capitals for some consultations. However, expert-level talks would continue.
JCPOA opponents become more active, provocative: Lead Russian negotiator
Meanwhile, the Russian chief negotiator and ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a post on his Twitter account that the opponents to the JCPOA have become “more active and provocative” in the public space as the Vienna talks move ahead.
Noteworthy: as we move ahead at the #ViennaTalks, the #JCPOA opponents become more active and provocative in the public space. Regrettable and senseless. The absolute majority of states, incl. P5, aim at restoration of the nuclear deal and sanctions lifting.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) January 14, 2022
“The absolute majority of states, incl. P5, aim at restoration of the nuclear deal and sanctions lifting,” Ulyanov tweeted.