Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh. FILE PHOTO

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

US Must Respond To Iran’s New ‘Initiatives’ In Nuclear Talks: Spokesman

5/16/2022

Tehran says Washington must respond to proposals it put forth last week during the visit of EU coordinator Enrique Mora, to break the stalemate in nuclear talks.

“We can be in a position where all sides can return to Vienna if the American side responds,” he told reporters, reiterating that the US needs to make a “political decision,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters at his weekly press briefing Monday.

Khatibzadeh also accused Israel of acting against restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “whenever an initiative is made for diplomacy.”

The Iranian side organized “very serious and result-oriented negotiations with special initiatives” during Mora’s two-day visit and several long talks were held between him and Iran’s top negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani, he told reporters.

Before his visit to Tehran, Mora said the was going to “work on closing the remaining gaps of this negotiation continues” by presenting a compromise formula that would be acceptable to both Tehran and Washington.

The eighth round of talks in Vienna which began in late December, came to an abrupt pause in mid-March and all negotiators returned to their capitals for political consultations. Tehran and Washington, which only negotiate indirectly through the European coordinator of the talks, have repeatedly put the onus of a decision to resume the talks and a final deal on one another.

Last Monday, ahead of Mora’s visit, Khatibzadeh had told reporters that the visit was not expected to make a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear talks.

Khatibzadeh reiterated on Monday that all sanctions imposed on Iran by the administration of the former US President Donald Trump dubbed as “maximum pressure campaign” should be dismantled. “Iran's demands have been always within the text of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231,” he added.

The Iranian spokesman called the recent remarks of the US State Department Spokesman Ned Price who put the onus in striking a deal on Iran ‘hackneyed”.Commenting on the possibility of a final deal and whether the US would take the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) off the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), Price said Friday that that at a deal remained "far from certain" at this point.

The IRGC was added to the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Trump administration in 2019.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said that delisting of the IRGC is a “redline” that it will not cross.

“Negotiations [have] reached a point that obstacles can only be untied by accepting Iran’s rational and principled obligations. [The] US by negligence, and [the] EU by inaction, destroyed the opportunity to benefit from Iran's goodwill. If they have the will, we are ready and an agreement is available,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani tweeted Saturday.

Mora’s visit coincided with a day-long visit by the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Al Thani, which pundits believe was aimed at salvaging the talks although there was no mention of the nuclear issue in the official reports of his meetings in Tehran.

The Qatari Emir had also visited Tehran in January 2020 when tensions were extremely high between Tehran and Washington over the US killing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force Commander Ghasem Soleimani in Baghdad in an apparent bid to calm the standoff of the two.

When asked about Russia’s role in Vienna talks Monday, Khatibzadeh said Moscow had a constructive role in the talks, but it is not out of the ordinary that Europeans may “undermine Russia’s role as a mediator” in matters such restoration of the JCPOA given the war in Ukraine.

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