Iran says Vienna nuclear talks to restart around joint document

Iran says its negotiating team is ready to remain in Vienna until whenever necessary to reach a good deal.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaking
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said the Vienna nuclear talks will restart. [File: Atta Kanare/AFP]

Tehran, Iran – The eighth round of Iran nuclear talks will start on Monday in Vienna based on a new joint document that incorporates key Iranian demands such as guarantees and verification on the lifting of sanctions, Iran’s foreign minister has said.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in the capital Tehran on Monday that an “acceptable” joint text has been agreed which includes talking points on sanctions and nuclear issues.

“We’ve set aside the June 2021 document and have agreed a new joint document and talks will begin today around that document,” state-run IRNA quoted Amirabdollahian as saying in reference to a text that was reached at the end of the sixth round of talks in the Austrian capital.

The eight-round of the high-stakes negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – is slated to begin on Monday after a 10-day pause following the end of the previous talks that began in late November.

According to Amirabdollahian, Iran’s demands for guarantees that the US will not unilaterally abandon the deal – as it did in 2018 – and a period to verify the effective lifting of sanctions, will be discussed.

“The important issue for us is that under these terms and issues, we will reach a point where Iran can easily, and without bounds, sell its oil and the oil money would land in Iranian bank accounts in foreign currencies and we can use all economic benefits in different sectors,” he said.

The JCPOA provided sanctions-relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme. But after the US withdrawal and imposition of sanctions, Iran abandoned those curbs and is now using advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium up to 60 percent.

In an interview with Russian news agency Sputnik published on Saturday, Iran’s nuclear chief, Mohammad Eslami, said the country will not exceed that level of enrichment even if the Vienna talks fail.

A 90-percent enrichment required for a nuclear bomb is a short technical step away, something the Western signatories of the nuclear deal have repeatedly expressed concern about. But Iran has maintained that it will never seek to weaponise its nuclear programme.

US and the European participants have sought a quick outcome of the talks due to Iran’s nuclear advancements. But on Monday, the IRNA quoted an unnamed source close to the Iranian negotiating team as saying they will not pay attention to “fabricated deadlines” and are prepared to remain in Vienna until whenever necessary to achieve a favourable agreement.

“These deadlines won’t change our red lines,” the source said. “There is no emergency situation for us in the negotiations.”

Source: Al Jazeera