Talks to revive 2015 nuclear deal remain stalled since August over key sticking points
Iran said Wednesday that there is an “uninterrupted exchange of messages” between Tehran and Washington to salvage the nuclear deal, contrary to public statements made by US officials.
Speaking on the sidelines of a government meeting in Tehran, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian termed recent statements by Rob Malley, US envoy for Iran affairs, as “hypocritical”, saying the two sides continue to exchange messages, the last of which came “within past 72 hours”.
Malley told reporters in Paris on Monday that the door was open to resuming diplomacy with Iran, but for now, the Biden administration would continue the policy of “sanctions and pressure”.
“Our focus is not an accord that isn’t moving forward, but what is happening in Iran, this popular movement and brutal crackdown of the regime against protesters,” Malley said.
“It’s the sale of armed drones by Iran to Russia … and the liberation of our hostages,” he added, referring to three US nationals held in Iran.
Amir-Abdollahian said the American side, through other foreign ministers, has been sending messages to Iran that they are “in a hurry” to revive the nuclear deal but tell media that the deal “is not the priority”.
He said the objective of the US is to “pressure Iran into conceding its red lines”.
The indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are stalled since August due to key sticking points, including a standoff over the UN nuclear watchdog’s probe into three undeclared nuclear sites in Iran.
Iran’s insistence on dropping the probe and the agency’s refusal to accept the demand has put a major roadblock in the revival of the deal and de-escalation of tensions between Iran and the US.
Tensions between the two sides have heightened in recent months following sweeping protests in Iran over the death of a young Iranian woman in police custody as well as allegations that Iran supplied drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.
Amir-Abdollahian also vowed a “reciprocal and effective” response to what he called an “unconstructive” move to call a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to address the situation in Iran.
The special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran” will be convened on November 24 following an official request submitted on Friday by Germany and Iceland.
Meanwhile, a scheduled visit by a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Iran to discuss ways to enhance cooperation has been put on hold after the US, Britain, France, and Germany submitted a motion to the agency’s board censuring Iran over its lack of cooperation with the agency.
Iran’s nuclear agency chief Mohammad Eslami said on Wednesday that Tehran rejects the motion, which he said is based on “false content”.
The IAEA board of governors had in June this year passed a resolution against Iran over its “non-cooperation” with the agency.