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Lead Negotiator: P4+1 Must Give “Reasonable, Rational” Response to Iran’s Proposed Drafts

Lead Negotiator: P4+1 Must Give “Reasonable, Rational” Response to Iran’s Proposed Drafts
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By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s lead negotiator to Vienna talks says the P4+1 group of countries has been given the chance to consult with their capitals on the Islamic Republic’s two proposed drafts, underlining that Tehran expects a “reasonable, documented and rational” response.

Ali Baqeri Kani was speaking to reporters on Friday before leaving the Austrian capital for Tehran after five days of intensive talks aimed at removing the sanctions the United States imposed on Iran after its unilateral withdrawal from the multilateral 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

During the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting on Friday, the sides gave a brief overview of the talks, which started between Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal – Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia – on Monday.

"It was emphasized that the proposals of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the removal of illegal and oppressive sanctions and the nuclear issue are on the table," Baqeri Kani, who serves as Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, said. "Since the opposite side needed to consult with their capitals to provide a documented and reasonable response to these proposals, it suggested that the talks be suspended for a few days." The senior Iranian diplomat noted that a new round of negotiations between the two sides would resume in the middle of next week.

The JCPOA was abandoned by then US President Donald Trump in May 2018. Trump then targeted Iran’s economy with what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign, but he failed to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing Washington’s unlawful sanctions after the US voiced interest to return to the agreement.

Baqeri Kani announced Thursday that Iran has submitted two proposed drafts to the other parties concerning the removal of sanctions and Tehran’s nuclear commitments, and is about to put forward a third draft.

The website of Iran's Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] said on Friday that the Europeans’ lack of initiative in the face of the Iranian team’s “groundbreaking” proposals is dragging down negotiations in Vienna.

Iran's top security body quoted Baqeri Kani as saying, "The first document sums up the Islamic Republic's point of view concerning the removal of sanctions, while the second is about Iran's nuclear actions."

"In the third document to be presented to the other parties, Iran will state its views and proposals with regard to the verification period of removing sanctions," he added. The top Iranian negotiator also told reporters before his departure that the country's new delegation to this round of talks was comprised of economic, financial and banking experts and officials, which "showed the Islamic Republic's determination to enter the negotiations with the purpose of achieving an agreement."

He noted that the new delegation presented its views to the P4+1 group of countries in written and repeatedly voiced its readiness even during the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting to continue the talks. Baqeri Kani emphasized that the P4+1's response to Iran's proposals would be the base for bilateral negotiations.

Baqeri Kani said the European parties were not "satisfied" with some parts of Iran's proposed drafts, saying, however, that "these proposals have been drawn up based on common basics between the two sides."

The Europeans had no objection to Iran's proposals, which they said do not agree with their views, Baqeri Kani said, adding, "We raise issues which are consistent with our own views, interests and policies but the important point is that these proposals have been devised based on principles agreed by the opposite side."

The top Iranian negotiator emphasized that no European side claims that Tehran's proposals lack legal basis.

Earlier, an informed source familiar with the Vienna talks told Press TV on Friday that Iran's proposed drafts are in full conformity with the JCPOA and the principles contained therein.

The unnamed source expressed regret that some European parties have turned the negotiations into a forum to dictate their own positions and demands, saying, “Regrettably, some European parties have mistaken the negotiating table for a platform to dictate their positions and demands.”

Meanwhile, senior diplomats from the three European signatories to the JCPOA have expressed disappointment and concern after reviewing Iran’s proposed changes to the text negotiated during the previous six rounds.

In a Friday statement, the E3 diplomats said, "Major changes [have been] demanded [by Iran]," adding that some were incompatible with the JCPOA. It is "unclear how these new gaps can be closed in a realistic timeframe on the basis of Iranian drafts," they added.

In a phone call with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian described the process of negotiations in Vienna “good but slow,” asserting that the West needs to focus on removing the United States’ sanctions against Iran.

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