TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran has censured the United States for refusing to abandon its wrong path after two-day negotiations in the Qatari capital to discuss how to remove sanctions on the Islamic Republic ended Wednesday.
Diplomats spoke at the UN Security Council Thursday, wringing their hands at perceived lack of progress after Iran and the European side said they will keep in touch “about the continuation of the route and the next stage of the talks”.
Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi, however, told the council that the latest talks were positive and the Islamic Republic is ready to strike an agreement, but everything depends on the US to make a decision.
“Iran has demanded verifiable and objective guarantees from the U.S. that JCPOA will not be torpedoed again, that the U.S. will not violate its obligations again, and that sanctions will not be re-imposed under other pretexts or designations,” he told the council.
“We were sincere in the Doha talks that were serious and positive,” he said. “Our negotiating team is ready to engage constructively again to conclude and reach a deal.”
Chinese and Russian diplomats also faulted the United States, with Beijing’s representative urging Washington to remove unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran.
“It is indeed the (Trump) policy of maximum pressure on Iran, which the U.S. administration continues to embrace, that this is the main cause of all of the current problems plaguing the JCPOA,” Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said.
China said the U.S. must respond to Iran’s legitimate concerns and redress it past mistakes.
“We hope relevant parties will step up diplomatic efforts, find common ground on the outstanding issues at an early date and remove the obstacles to resuming full compliance,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing on Thursday.
“As the one who created the Iranian nuclear issue, the US needs to redress its mistakes, actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side and work to achieve outcomes from negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA at an early date,” he added.
The talks in Doha followed several rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year. They had stalled since March, chiefly over Washington’s insistence to maintain some key elements of the sanctions intact.
“The U.S. is responsible for the current hiatus in Iran’s nuclear case, must fulfill its obligations to return to the nuclear agreement, respond to Iran’s legitimate concerns and take measures to resume negotiations as early as possible to help things move forward,” Zhao said.
A fresh round of negotiations over the removal of anti-Iran sanctions starts in the Qatari capital of Doha, in a high-stakes diplomatic process aimed at breaking the stalemate in the revival of the 2015 Iran deal.
On Thursday, the UN Security Council met to discuss the latest report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the implementation of the 2015 council resolution that enshrines the nuclear deal.
Richard Mills, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told the meeting, “Iran has yet to demonstrate any real urgency to conclude a deal, end the current nuclear crisis and achieve important sanctions lifting.”
EU Ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog said, “I am concerned that we might not make it over the finishing line.”
“My message is: Seize this opportunity to conclude the deal, based on the text that is on the table. The time to overcome the last outstanding issues, conclude the deal, and fully restore the (agreement) is now.”
Iran has demanded that the U.S. should provide guarantees a future administration would not withdraw from a restored deal again, something the Biden administration has not been able to do.
The new round of talks was held in Doha just a few days after European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, visited Tehran seeking to break the impasse.
European diplomats and former U.S. officials have told NBC News that the US is likely to introduce new sanctions against Iran and seek to further enforce existing sanctions.
They said the possible options include persuading China to shut off oil imports from Iran, ramping up sanctions, including targeting oil sales to China, and pursuing a less ambitious interim nuclear deal.
Potential sabotage operations against the civilian nuclear program could also be on the table, they said.
According to the European diplomats, former U.S. officials and experts, among the possible options is ordering military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or supporting Israeli military action.