Jan 04, 2022 06:22 UTC
  • Iran, P4+1 group of countries resume Vienna talks after short pause

Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have resumed the eighth round of talks in the Austrian capital city of Vienna after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year.

Representatives of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- began the eighth round of the Vienna talks on December 27 focused on the removal of all sanctions imposed on Tehran after Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the agreement. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.

According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, Iran's chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrived in Vienna earlier on Monday and held a meeting with Enrique Mora, European Union's deputy foreign policy chief and head of the Joint Commission of the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Bagheri Kani, who serves as Iran's deputy foreign minister for international affairs, also held talks with senior officials of other participating countries.

Earlier in the day, the Russian ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet that the eighth round of talks would resume in the "form of informal meetings."

Speaking to reporters on Thursday before leaving Vienna for Tehran, the top Iranian negotiator said during the eighth round of negotiations good progress was made with regard to the removal of sanctions and subsequent verification of sanctions removal.

“The issue of sanctions removal was the main focus of the talks. Iran and the other side continued their negotiations on multiple issues, including a number of sessions on the verification of sanctions removal. The meetings were attended by both the coordinator of the joint commission of the JCPOA and the European side," he said.  

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also said on Monday that the western parties to the JCPOA have realized that they have to back down from their “maximalist demands” during the ongoing Vienna negotiations.

“If we have a common text today, that’s because the Western side realized that it must back down from its maximalist demands, and what we have today (the text) is a result of the Western parties’ realization in the Vienna talks that they cannot demand anything beyond the JCPOA on the nuclear issue and implement less commitments to lifting sanctions than those stipulated under the JCPOA,” Khatibzadeh said.

During the previous round of the talks, the first under Iran's new President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table to help the talks move forward and later criticized the European signatories of the JCPOA for failing to follow suit and remaining passive.