The Iranian side of the negotiations affirmed the positive role of the Doha talks, while its Washington counterpart viewed it as “a little bit of a wasted occasion”.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to hold discussions with his Iranian counterpart about the latest developments in negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the lifting of sanctions and the recent Doha talks, according to local media.
During a joint press conference between the two top diplomats, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amiabdollahian stressed Doha’s constructive role in strengthening regional cooperation, in particular the indirect talks recently held with Washington in the Qatari capital.
Defending Tehran’s side of the negotiating table, Amirabdollahian said Iran did not “make any demands outside the framework of the nuclear agreement, contrary to what the United States says.”
This comment came as Robert Malley, US special envoy for Iran, pointed accusatory fingers at Iran as the party responsible for the failure of finalising the revival of the nuclear talks.
In an interview with National Public Radio, Malley claimed Iran’s side has “added” demands that, he said, “would be viewed as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they’ve wanted in the past that clearly us and the Europeans and others have said that’s not part of this negotiation.”
Iran’s foreign ministry has always maintained that a fruitful negotiation is promised once it ensures a lasting guarantee of Tehran’s full economic benefit from the nuclear deal.
Amirabdollahian on Wednesday said Tehran has informed the European side of its rejection to any agreement that prevents the Islamic Republic from benefiting economically.
“Any proposal that prevents Iran from benefiting from the economic benefits of the nuclear agreement, we will reject it,” he asserted.
Iran has continued to assert its claim of expecting a guarantee from Washington that it would gain the economic benefits from the 2015 nuclear deal as, to Tehran, the US administration could abandon the agreement once again.
Washington unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018 under the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran. In turn, the US restored crippling sanctions, prompting Tehran to abandon restrictions on its nuclear programme about a year later.
In Tehran on Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed echoed earlier statements on the importance of constructive efforts to achieve success in the nuclear agreement and to encourage regional dialogue.
The top Qatari diplomat also expressed his country’s support for any dialogue between the Islamic Republic and regional countries, confirming that Doha backs a fair agreement that takes into account the concerns of all involved parties.
The Qatari foreign minister arrived in the Iranian capital on Wednesday afternoon and is also scheduled to meet Iran’s Security Chief Ali Shamkhani.
His visit comes after Doha hosted two days of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington in late June, brokered by the European Union in a bid to break a months-long impasse in negotiations to secure the restoration of the nuclear accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The first round, however, came to an end with little progress.
Looming disagreements over the scale and guarantees on the lifting of United States-imposed crippling sanctions remain afloat between Iran and the US.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Tuesday that Washington “has no plan for another round of talks at the moment.”
This comes despite reports claiming that the indirect talks would likely resume following US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region in July, with its host ‘most likely’ being Doha again.
Sheikh Mohammed’s trip also comes after a series of phone calls between relevant officials to discuss the fate of the JCPOA.
Iran’s Amirabdollahian and the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell held a phone call on Tuesday. Shortly after, the Iranian top diplomat tweeted: “We remain ready to negotiate a strong and durable agreement.
“US must decide if it wants a deal or insists on sticking to its unilateral demands. Mutually exclusive.”
Meanwhile Borrell wrote: “decisions are needed now” as the “political space” to restore the JCPOA may narrow soon.
Russia’s chief negotiator in the nuclear talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, reacted by tweeting that “it is high time for the US to take a more forthcoming position” in the negotiations if it is committed to salvaging the JCPOA.
Amirabdollahian had also held phone conversations with his French and Omani counterparts earlier this week.
Unlike Washington’s side, Tehran has expressed a positive view over the Doha talks, with experts describing it as a “focused negotiation.”
Referring to talks over lifting of sanctions on Tehran in both Vienna and Doha during a phone call with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna, Amirabdollahian said that Tehran’s assessment of the recent talks in Doha was “positive,”
Iran is “serious and honest to reach the final point of agreement […] but the American side had no initiatives based on innovation and progress in Doha,” he said, according to reports.