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Zarif suggests that JCPOA can be saved before Raisi takes office | Middle East News

Iran’s outgoing foreign minister stated that there is a “high probability” that an agreement will be reached in the Vienna talks before the end of the current government’s term.

Iran’s outgoing Foreign Minister Javad Zarif expressed optimism about Vienna’s ongoing negotiations to save Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, implying that it would be reached even before the newly elected President Ibrahim Raisi took office in August. Agreement is possible.

“We are very likely to reach an agreement before the end of the term,” Zarif told Al Jazeera’s Samizaidan at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum meeting on Saturday. On the same day, the conservative Raisi was declared winner Iranian presidential election.

The 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), aims to contain Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, former President Donald Trump unilaterally let the United States withdraw from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed severe sanctions on the Iranian economy as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran withdrew from key nuclear commitments, leaving JCPOA hanging in the air.

Since April, Iran and the other signatories — Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the European Union — have been trying to find common ground to maintain the validity of the agreement.

Zarif said in Antalya, Turkey: “As we speak, negotiations are in progress.” “The text is getting cleaner. The brackets are being removed,” he added with a smile, but did not provide more information. More details.

Zarif’s optimistic tone contrasted sharply with the caution expressed on Friday by Russia’s special envoy to the Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov.

“Some difficult and time-consuming topics are still unresolved,” Ulyanov said, noting that progress had been made in the past few days.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said on Wednesday that there are still major differences between the two sides.

In Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated the US view on Thursday that the Vienna talks have made progress since the beginning of April, but challenges remain, saying that he cannot determine the “time frame” of when the current round will end. .

After Joe Biden was promoted to the White House in January, hopes of saving JCPOA have risen. The President of the United States hopes to resume the transaction and even extend its terms. Several rounds of indirect negotiations have been conducted between the United States and Iran.

The talks were not direct because Iran refused to meet face-to-face, but the United States had discussions with many participants.

“Most of our problems are cognitive problems,” Zarif said on the forum. “The problem is that the United States must admit that it was the United States that left a goal to the agreement, and that goal was not achieved.

“Now it’s back in the deal, so it can’t decide what can’t be achieved through the economic war at the negotiating table. I think this is a cognitive shift that the US government needs to make. I think we are getting there, but we haven’t got there yet. “

Commenting on Friday’s election in Iran, Zarif said that the electoral process for Reisi’s presidency must be respected.

“From now on, each of us must work in a certain way, whether we disagree with him or agree with him, whether we like his policies or dislike his policies, he is now elected by the people,” he Say. .

Although standing with hardliners who are firmly opposed to the nuclear agreement, Lai Xi is still committed to fulfilling the promise to lift the sanctions and said that he will respect any national commitments made by the previous government, including JCPOA.

However, he did point out that he plans to form a “strong” government to steer the agreement in the right direction.

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