In the Austrian capital Vienna, the eighth round of negotiations to revive the Iranian nuclear agreement continues, with great momentum in the movements of the negotiating delegations – according to the Iranian news agency – while European delegations in the negotiations await Tehran’s proposals regarding its commitments under the nuclear agreement.
The chief Iranian negotiator, Ali Bagheri, had discussed yesterday, with European Coordinator Enrique Mora and representatives of delegations of European countries, the continuation of the Vienna negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, and its agenda in the coming days.
The eighth rounds of the Vienna negotiations are taking place at the level of expert committees, as negotiators focus on 3 tracks: lifting sanctions, nuclear commitments, as well as safeguards and verification mechanisms.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated that progress has been made in the negotiations on the level of nuclear commitments, lifting and verification of sanctions, and mutual guarantees. He added yesterday in a press conference that the progress of the other party’s pledges was less, and therefore the ball is in the court of the United States and the western parties, as he put it.
The Iranian spokesman stressed that the other party cannot demand more nuclear commitments from Tehran than what was stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and it cannot implement commitments less than what was agreed upon, pointing out that if the other party reached this conviction, then it is possible to talk about a good agreement in Vienna.
The most prominent obstacles
Al-Jazeera correspondent in Vienna, Muhammad al-Baqali, stated that a source in the Iranian delegation in the Austrian capital stated that there are obstacles to reaching an agreement, the most prominent of which – according to the Iranians – is the failure of the European parties to submit any proposals regarding guarantees of lifting the US sanctions requested by Tehran, whether political, legal or practical proposals. .
The second obstacle – according to the Iranians as well – is that the European delegation wants to negotiate on the three tracks in parallel, unlike the Iranian delegation’s desire to discuss the issue of lifting sanctions first and foremost, and with it guarantees that the United States will not withdraw from the nuclear agreement again.
On the other hand, the European delegation insists on the necessity of discussing Iran’s commitments under the nuclear agreement in parallel with the rest of the negotiations files, and there is no preference or precedence for one track over another.
A source in the Iranian delegation pointed an accusing finger at the representatives of France and Britain in the Vienna negotiations, describing their role as sabotage.
Sources close to the European side said, in the negotiations, that they are waiting for new proposals from the Iranian side regarding nuclear commitments and mutual guarantees.
Al-Jazeera correspondent in Vienna said that the European negotiators say that time is pressing, and that Tehran is developing its nuclear program while the negotiation rounds continue, and what is more dangerous is that the stockpile of uranium produced by Iran exceeds the ceiling allowed in the 2015 agreement.
The European parties insist on the necessity of removing the stockpile of uranium that Iran has produced in excess of the ceiling specified in the nuclear agreement. They also demand the destruction of the advanced centrifuges that Tehran has installed in its nuclear facilities over the past months, which is also demanded by the US side.
The European parties insist on the necessity of removing this stockpile from Iran, as well as destroying the advanced centrifuges that Tehran has installed in its nuclear facilities in the past months, which is something that the American side also demands.
The Vienna negotiations are taking place between Iran and the 1 + 4 group (France, Britain, Russia, China, Germany) in addition to the representative of the European Union. The United States is participating in the negotiations indirectly, due to its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 agreement.
Britain and Israel
In a related context, a British government spokesman said today that Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed with his Israeli counterpart, Naftali Bennett, the ongoing talks in Vienna regarding the Iran nuclear deal.
Yesterday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that Tel Aviv does not oppose the conclusion of an agreement between the great powers and Iran, if a good agreement is reached. During a meeting with Israeli journalists, Lapid revealed contacts with Washington and the rest of the countries participating in the Vienna negotiations, with the aim of influencing the formula of the agreement being worked on.
Lapid added that thanks to the pressure exerted by Israel, the world is now dealing more seriously with the Iranian nuclear file, but he stressed Israel’s preservation of “its freedom to act unilaterally against Iran, as it is not part of this agreement.”
It is noteworthy that the Vienna negotiations began last April with the aim of saving the nuclear agreement after the US withdrawal, and seven rounds of negotiations were conducted until last June. After a suspension of about 5 months due to the Iranian presidential elections, the talks resumed as of November 29, 2021.