Iran says 'serious' about reaching revived nuclear deal; As Pence blasts talks

Iran says ‘serious’ about reaching revived nuclear deal; As Pence blasts talks

Iran said Thursday that it remains “serious” about reaching a revived nuclear deal with major powers that ends economic sanctions and to which the United States is again a party.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as talks between the parties in Vienna remain stalled.

“The nuclear negotiations train has reached difficult stops as they near the end,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He stressed Iran was “serious about reaching a good, strong and lasting agreement” and called for similar realism from the US side.

“I hope we can reach the final point of the agreement in the near future with realism from the American side,” he said.

Russia was a party to the original 2015 deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — that gave Iran relief from international sanctions in return for UN-monitored limits to its nuclear activities.

It has taken part in the on-off talks that opened in Vienna in April last year on bringing Washington back into the agreement after president Donald’s Trump 2018 withdrawal.

“Today, with the other participants in the JCPOA… we are making every effort to repair the American error when the United States left the JCPOA,” Lavrov told the news conference.

Both Iran and Russia have been grappling with the economic impact of Western actions. Moscow has faced mounting sanctions since its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February.

“We oppose illegal sanctions against countries including Russia,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

Former US VP Pence blasts nuclear talks with Iran
Manza, Albania (AFP) June 23, 2022 –
Former US vice president Mike Pence on Thursday lambasted the Biden administration’s talks with Iran over a potential nuclear deal.

During Pence’s time in Donald Trump’s administration, the White House took an especially aggressive posture toward Iran, pulling out of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran and ramping up sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“Now President Biden and his administration are threatening to unravel all the progress we made in marginalizing the tyrannical regime in Tehran,” said Pence as he addressed thousands of members of the exiled Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) in Albania.

“We call on the Biden administration to immediately withdraw from all nuclear negotiations with Tehran,” Pence added.

The MEK has attracted support from conservative Republicans in the past, including Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

The MEK backed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1979 revolution that ousted the shah but rapidly fell out with the new Islamic authorities and embarked on a campaign to overthrow the regime.

Albania agreed in 2013 to take in some 3,000 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group at the request of Washington and the United Nations.

In April 2021, Joe Biden’s administration kickstarted a new round of negotiations with Iran in Vienna with the aim of returning the US to the nuclear deal, including through the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

But the ever-delicate dialogue has been stalled since March.

The 2015 agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme to guarantee that Tehran could not develop a nuclear weapon — something it has always denied wanting to do.

But in 2018, the US withdrew from the accord under Trump and reimposed heavy economic sanctions that prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments.

Earlier this week, Iran’s foreign minister said the “train has still not derailed” in negotiations aiming to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, despite new US sanctions on the Islamic republic.

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