Abdullahian: The eighth round of the Vienna negotiations is on the right track, and there is no concession to lift the sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that the eighth round of the Vienna negotiations put the negotiations on the right track, stressing the priority of lifting all sanctions on Tehran within the framework of any agreement.

The Iranian minister added to Al Jazeera that it is possible to reach a good agreement if the Western parties have the intention and will to do so, noting that lifting sanctions means lifting all their forms stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and providing guarantees that no new sanctions will be imposed after their lifting.

Abdullahian talked about an informal exchange of messages between his country and American officials in Vienna with the aim of facilitating negotiations, saying that he hears good words from the American delegation, but the important thing is to see practical and serious actions, as he put it.

This comes at a time when the Vienna negotiations aimed at reviving the nuclear agreement between the major powers and Iran are continuing, in light of a Russian-Western debate over setting a date for the end of its eighth round.

While Iranian sources quoted chief negotiator Ali Bagheri as saying that the talks were positive, a source close to the Iranian negotiating team denied that any talks had taken place in the Austrian capital in order to reach an interim nuclear agreement.

The Russian delegate to international organizations, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that diplomatic work often did not fit into strict plans and deadlines.

The Russian diplomat’s comments came, apparently, in response to reports that the Western powers had set the end of this month as a deadline for the end of the ongoing negotiations in the Austrian capital.

Temporarily no deal

A source close to the Iranian negotiating team in the Vienna talks denied that any talks had taken place in the Austrian capital in order to reach a temporary nuclear agreement.

The Iranian source added that the aim of talking about a temporary agreement is to increase pressure on Iran by the Western parties, as he put it.

Parallel to this controversy, Iranian sources quoted chief negotiator Ali Bagheri as saying that the ongoing talks in Vienna are positive, while stressing that what he called the other side’s seriousness about lifting sanctions will help achieve an agreement.

Baqeri met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of South Korea, and discussed with him the release of Iranian funds frozen with the Seoul government. Bagheri said that South Korea is obligated to release the Iranian money in its banks, apart from the results of the negotiations in Vienna.

Bagheri added, during his meeting with the Korean official, that the unilateral US sanctions cannot be a justification for South Korea not paying the Iranian money in its possession.

He stressed that Seoul’s refusal to release Iranian funds is a black point in the historical relations linking Iran and South Korea.

critical stage

Sources close to the negotiations said that the difference in priorities between Iran and the Western powers is one of the most important obstacles, as Iran focuses on lifting sanctions and demands guarantees, while the Western powers stress the necessity of Iran’s nuclear commitments first.

For her part, German Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock said that talks with Iran have entered a critical stage.

Birbock added – in a press conference with her American counterpart, Anthony Blinken – that Iran has squandered a lot of confidence, and that there is not much time to revive the nuclear agreement.

The German Foreign Minister said that the Vienna negotiations on reviving the nuclear agreement had entered a critical stage (Reuters)

The Vienna negotiations are taking place between Iran and the “4+1” group (Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China), along with the representative of the European Union, and the United States indirectly participates in them.

The negotiations aim to revive the Iranian nuclear agreement after it was disrupted by the withdrawal of the United States from it.

The nuclear agreement led to the lifting of sanctions imposed on Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities, but former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 after a year in office, while Tehran responded by repudiating its obligations under the agreement.

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