Iran will not accept obligations beyond original deal, says Foreign Minister

Hossein Amirabdollahian says his country seeks an agreement in good faith

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran sought an agreement with good faith. AP
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Iran will not accept any new obligations at Vienna talks with world powers beyond those agreed in the 2015 nuclear agreement, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Thursday.

He discussed the deal and other regional issues in a phone call with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The Iranian official said sanctions would have to be lifted for Iran to halt nuclear enrichment, the major concern for western parties to the talks.

“We seek a good agreement with good faith and active initiative,” Mr Amirabdollahian is reported to have told Mr Guterres.

Iran has repeatedly called for the removal of sanctions that were put in place by President Donald Trump after he withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.

The phone call with the UN head comes a day after Iran agreed with the body’s international nuclear watchdog to reinstall cameras at its Karaj nuclear plant.

Mr Amirabdollahian said that following condemnation by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi of a June sabotage that destroyed the camera's at Karaj, that Iran blames on Israel, Iran would allow cameras to be replaced in good faith.

The agreement between the IAEA and Iran has brought new optimism to talks in Vienna seeking to bring Iran and the US back to the 2015 agreement.

The West has warned that time is running out for Iran to agree to a deal to return to the JCPOA. Agreed in 2015, the deal put strict limits on Iran's nuclear programmes and put in place stringent IAEA monitoring in exchange for international sanctions being removed.

Mr Trump exited the deal and placed numerous stringent new sanctions on Iran -- something that the Biden administration has warned Iran they would be powerless to stop a future president from doing again.

Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday that the past few days had shown progress was possible.

“Talks continue intensively, both by experts and top negotiators. Today I exchanged views with heads of delegations of UK, France, Germany, China, and the EU. Our experts also continue working on tests. The last few days showed if everyone engages seriously, progress is possible,” he said.

However, the US said it did not expect a special meeting of the IAEA to discuss Wednesday’s deal.

"If implemented as agreed with the IAEA Director-General, we would not foresee needing a special Board of Governors [meeting] on this set of issues before the end of the year," a US official said.

Russia's representative in Vienna tweeted that he had met the US special envoy to Iran Rob Malley to discuss possible ways forward in Vienna.

Updated: December 16, 2021, 2:53 PM