‘We Are Going to Get Back to Vienna’: Iran’s FM Says JCPOA Talks to Resume by ‘Early November’

© AP PhotoIn this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran
In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.10.2021
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A day after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian revealed Tehran was preparing for a seventh round of talks with the United States and other members of the 2015 nuclear deal about restoring the agreement, his deputy has said they could return by early November.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said it would probably take them less time to come to the negotiating table after a change of administration than it had the Americans, who only began talks after US President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January.

"The government of [Iranian President] Ebrahim Raisi has been in power for less than 55 days ... I don't think that the (return to talks) will take as much as 90 days," he said, according to AFP. Counting from Raisi’s August 5 inauguration, 90 days later is November 3, 2021.

He later elaborated in comments to state-owned France 24 on the sidelines of the Normandy World Peace Forum in Caen.
“We have started two review processes inside Iran after the new administration took office. The first review process was complete and concluded, we decided to announce that we are going to Vienna, definitely, and we are going to restart our negotiations with P4+1,” he explained. The other parties to the deal are China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as the European Union.
“The second review process is not concluded yet. We are trying to review all the details of the Vienna talks, the six rounds which were actually conducted under the previous administration in Iran. There have been questions, the new administration is trying to find out what are the shortcomings, what are the characteristics for the previous talks. Soon, there will be a conclusion to that review process, and then we will be able to set a date and time for the new round of talks,” Khatibzadeh added.
Asked about a specific time for returning to Vienna, “the president and the foreign minister both have said that as soon as the review process is concluded - we have very, very hard work now in Tehran on reviewing all the details of the negotiations, there are a lot of details to the negotiations. I assume that it will be less than the time needed for President Biden and his team to come to Vienna,” the diplomat said.
Khatibzadeh said one of their priorities was to discover why the previous rounds of talks had failed to reach a resolution. He also said they needed to decide which issues need to be addressed in the next round of talks.
© AP PhotoIn this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran
In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.10.2021
In this June 6, 2018 frame grab from Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting, IRIB, state-run TV, three versions of domestically-built centrifuges are shown in a live TV program from Natanz, an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, in Iran
“The most important one is removing all sanctions imposed after [former US] President [Donald] Trump unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal and imposed sanctions. You know that President Trump has added 800 new unilateral, illegal sanctions on Iran, which need to be all removed. This is the position that we have had from day 1 and we are going to find out the way to effectively [be] sure that they will be removed.”
The deputy foreign minister said it was the US who wanted a “ticket” to return to the JCPOA, but noted that while Biden had campaigned on returning to all international agreements Trump had abrogated, including the Paris climate agreement and the JCPOA, “to be frank and to be honest, the new administration of the United States has not changed any policies toward Iran or any political approach toward Iran.”
Khatibzadeh was also asked about comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the United Nations General Assembly last week that “all red lines have been crossed” by Iran, and that Israel’s patience was now exhausted. He said that of the two nations, only Iran actually complies with international law when it comes to their respective nuclear programs.
“Israel is in no position to talk about Iran. Israel is sitting on hundreds of nuclear warheads, is not [a] member of NPT [Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] or accepting any international monitoring regime … not respecting [Middle East Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction], so on and so forth.”
“Iran’s peaceful nuclear activity is our right,” he said, noting that by contrast, Iran is a member of the NPT and cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors its nuclear activities.
Despite the alarmist rhetoric by Bennett - which mirrors that by his predecessor, longtime Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Israeli intelligence is far more sober when it comes to evaluating Iranian nuclear accomplishments.
Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman, the head of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate, recently told Walla News that while Iran has enriched a “disturbing” amount of uranium, including with a purity of up to 60% uranium-235, “in all other aspects of the Iranian nuclear project, we see no progress - not in the weapons project, in the financial area, not in any other sector.”
Tehran has long maintained it has no ambition of becoming a nuclear power, with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issuing a fatwa, or legal opinion on Islamic law by a jurist, in 2010 that nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction are a “serious threat to humanity,” and that use of them is forbidden.
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