Nuclear Talks Will Be Left For Raisi If Iran’s Terms Not Met Now - Spokesman
President Hassan Rouhani will pass on the Vienna talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), to the new administration of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) if Iran’s conditions are not met now, government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Tuesday.
"The matter will be taken up according to the discernment of the higher decisionmakers…[in Tehran] if we are not able to achieve what we desire,” Rabiei told his weekly press conference. Hinting an early agreement might suit both Rouhani and United States President Joe Biden, Rabiei reiterated that now was time for all sides to decide.
"There will be not a minute of delay if our demands are met….We have made our decision and announced it, and are waiting for the other parties including the United States to announce their decision so we can speak more clearly in the next round," Rabiei said. The spokesman underlined that the government had been instructed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei not to procrastinate if sanctions could be lifted but stressed Iran would not rush to conclude talks "at the cost of forsaking its rights."
Rabiei added that there was consensus among the parties to the Vienna talks – remaining JCPOA signatories China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, and the United Kingdom; and indirectly the US – over lifting major American sanctions on Iran’s energy, banking and insurance sectors: "However, there will practically be no agreement if…all of the issues…are not agreed on.”
On Monday Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh suggested the change in government would make no difference to the talks, telling reporters that "decisions on the nuclear agreement are not made by the country's administration.” Officials of the Rouhani administration have in recent months been more equivocal about the fact that major decisions on the nuclear issue are made by Khamenei who is often referred to in this context as "highest officials of the system".
During the election campaign Raisi said he would accept the JCPOA if this was “in the people’s interests,” although many of his supporters have criticized the deal and Rouhani’s attempts to revive it. In his first press conference as President-elect, Raisi said he would not allow "negotiation for the sake of negotiating.”
Raisi, who will take office on August 3, is sanctioned alongside other Iranians including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif under a Trump administration executive order of 2019 for links to Khamenei.
Reports from the last round of talks that adjourned June 20 suggested difficulties remain both over deciding which US sanctions are ruled out by the JCPOA and how Iran can bring back within JCPOA limits its modified nuclear program, which it has expanded since 2019. A date for the next round of talks has not been announced.
Khatibzadeh said Monday Iran had not reached a decision over the temporary monitoring arrangements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which expired on June 24. The IAEA had in a statement June 25 urged an immediate Iranian response on the issue.
The US and Europeans have said the onus of decision with the talks lies with Iran, and have not confirmed that Washington has agreed to lift the draconian sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump on withdrawing the US from the JCPOA in 2018.