Iranian FM: JCPOA Talks in Vienna to Resume After Christmas Holidays
08:24 GMT 20.12.2021 (Updated: 09:48 GMT 20.12.2021)
The accord, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed in 2015 by the Islamic Republic and the so-called P5+1 group. In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the pact. The Biden administration is now working along with remaining signatories on restoring the agreement.
Talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume in Vienna after the Christmas holidays, Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said. Speaking at a press conference, the official said that the European Union's representative, Enrique Mora, will provide the details about when the new round of negotiations will start.
"There was a joint decision that now these negotiations are suspended, when the Christian holidays, Christmas will end, after that, on the basis of the announcement that Mora will make ... everyone will return", said Saeed Khatibzadeh.
The ministry's spokesman has criticised the United Kingdom for linking the progress of negotiations to the payment of its nearly $530 million debt to the Islamic Republic. In the 1970s, the sides struck a deal on the supply of 1,500 battle tanks to Iran. London delivered 185 fighting vehicles and refused to deliver more after the Western-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The International Court of Justice ruled that London should pay Tehran 400 million pounds, but the UK authorities have insisted they can’t repay the debt as it violates economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
"The British government only talks about repaying the debt, almost linking it to the progress of negotiations on [JCPOA]", said Saeed Khatibzadeh.
His statement comes several days after the sides concluded the seventh round of talks on the Iran nuclear deal in the Austrian capital. Reports say the sides have agreed on the text of the new accord as well as installing security cameras at a key nuclear facility in the Islamic Republic.
In 2015, following years of negotiations, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as Germany signed an accord with the Islamic Republic. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Tehran was to scale back its nuclear programme, which the international community deemed was used for creating nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions and an arms embargo.
In 2017, then-US President Donald Trump harshly criticised the agreement, which he described as the "worst deal ever". The Republican claimed that Tehran had been violating the accord despite the International Atomic Energy Agency saying that the Islamic Republic had honoured the pact.
Despite warnings and criticism from other signatories, Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, prompting Tehran to renege on its commitments. His successor, Democrat Joe Biden, voiced a desire to revive the Iran nuclear deal, although the White House has pushed for more restrictions to be included in the agreement, amid pressure from its allies, Israel in particular, which have strained relations with Tehran.