US inaction could doom Vienna talks

TEHRAN, Apr. 11 (MNA) – After a year of painstaking negotiations between the United States and Iran, Washington keeps coming up short in terms of making tough decisions necessary for bringing the current negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Last week marked the first anniversary of the resumption of talks between Iran and the US after Washington decided to walk out of the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018. A year has passed but the talks have not resulted yet in a deal to resurrect the tattered 2015 pact.

And this is because the US keeps dithering over making the kind of tough decisions Iran made to move the talks forward. Iran has made all the political decisions needed to push the talks forward. 

But the US is yet to make such decisions. Even worse, it keeps presenting demands that fall beyond the scope of the JCPOA, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

The United States put forward demands that contradict the negotiated draft text, Amir Abdollahian said on Sunday, noting that the US needs to act in good faith if it wants the JCPOA to be revived. 

“Although much of the text has been agreed upon, the American side presents demands that contradict some of the text. In the field of lifting sanctions, they are sometimes interested in unilaterally raising and imposing new conditions outside the framework of the negotiations that have taken place,” the foreign minister said.

Amir Abdollahian said the US, despite its unconstructive stance toward the talks, keeps demanding direct negotiations with Iran. “Many times when they insisted on negotiating [directly], we told them that if you are really in good faith, before any agreement, present one or two practical and tangible issues, for example, release some of the assets of the Islamic Republic of Iran that are blocked in foreign banks. We did not demand loans and money from the Americans, [we just told them] let the money of our people be released,” Amir Abdollahian noted. 

The Iranian foreign minister once again reiterated Iran’s stance on firmly sticking to its red lines regarding the Vienna talks, saying that Iran does not see any interest indirectly talking to the Americans.

Earlier, Amir Abdollahian said that “the ball is now in the United States' court.”

The US, however, does not seem to be ready to take the initiative in terms of concluding the Vienna talks. Quite on the contrary, it keeps sending signals that it is not ready to make the kind of political decisions Iran demands. 

Iran has demanded that the Biden administration delist the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) because it believes that the Trump administration’s move to designate the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization was politically motivated and designed to make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Biden administration to resuscitate the JCPOA, which Trump jettisoned. 

 A senior Biden administration official told Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that President Biden doesn’t intend to concede on the terrorist designation, even though this may be a dealbreaker. The official again threw the ball into Iran’s court, saying that the onus is on Iran to revive the deal. This is while Iran has reiterated time and again that it made all the necessary decisions in that regard.

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 185575

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