Tehran, Iran – Iran’s foreign ministry has rejected reports of the country’s willingness to “compromise” its stance in ongoing indirect negotiations with the United States to restore its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said late Saturday that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made no mention of compromise to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, when they met in Tehran earlier this month.
Khamenei told the emir “we have always said the negotiations must yield results, not waste time”, and “the Americans know what they need to do regarding this”, Khatibzadeh told the semi-official Tasnim news website.
“It is very clear from the context of the leader’s remarks that the ball is in the US court, which must make wise political decisions to fulfill its obligations,” he said.
The comments come after Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, was quoted as saying in the German newspaper Handelsblatt that the “Iranian leadership” had expressed readiness for compromise concerning “the Iranian nuclear file”.
Khatibzadeh suggested a mistranslation of comments may have occurred.
Qatar’s foreign ministry on Sunday said the minister was misquoted about the “compromise” comments.
On Friday, Sheikh Tamim had expressed optimism during a press conference in Germany that Iran and the US can reach an agreement on the nuclear deal, and reiterated Qatar’s readiness to assist.
Majed Mohammad al-Ansari, spokesman for Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry, said on Saturday that Doha is “very optimistic” about progress in the nuclear talks to achieve “peace and stability in the Gulf region”.
“We hope an agreement that satisfies all parties and guarantees Iran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy will be reached as soon as possible,” al-Ansari said.
The talks to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, have stalled since March as the two sides have failed to agree on a small but consequential number of issues, including a “terror” designation against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The US unilaterally abandoned the deal in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions.
The European Union’s coordinator for the talks, Enrique Mora, visited Tehran earlier this month in an effort to facilitate the talks.
Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had a phone call earlier this week to discuss the state of the talks.
“Important to get going,” Borrell tweeted following the call. “The more we wait the more difficult it becomes to conclude negotiations.”