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US deeds must follow words; Iranians in Vienna for 'good agreement’: FM

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo shows Hotel Palais Coburg, the venue of talks between Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 Iran deal, in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has urged an end to the “paradox” that has existed between the United States’ words and actions concerning Iran.

Speaking to the Euronews in an interview on Tuesday, the top diplomat noted that the mismatch had seen the Americans “sending a message of good will on the one hand, and simultaneously imposing new sanctions against some of our natural and legal entities on the same day.”

“Therefore, our yardstick is the Americans’ behavior. We are going to judge by the American side’s [actual] behavior,” he noted.

Amir-Abdollahian also said the US has failed to isolate Iran through sanctions, noting that, “Despite all the efforts that took place under Trump’s directorship [of the White House] in the US, and his maximum pressure campaign that was applied against the Islamic Republic, no such thing could be brought about as Iran’s isolation.” 

The foreign minister added that, during the Munich conference, he told Josep Borrell, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, which is coordinating the Vienna talks, about Iran’s serious presence in Austrian city with the aim of bringing about a “good agreement.”

“Both me and my colleague in Vienna,” the foreign minister said, referring to Iran’s top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, “have clearly told the European trio’s foreign ministers that now is the time for the Western side’s initiative as Tehran has shown its initiative and sufficient flexibility.

“However, if the other side does not come up with the necessary flexibility and initiative, it would undoubtedly end up being the party that is responsible for potential defeat of the talks,” the Iranian foreign minister said.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has alleged an interest in returning Washington to a 2015 deal between Iran and others. His predecessor Donald Trump ditched the deal in 2018 and returned the sanctions under the so-called campaign of “maximum pressure".

Yet, Biden’s White House has not only stopped short of whatever action that could mirror its expression of interest, but also it has cranked up the sanction regime.

Since last year, the Austrian capital of Vienna has hosted eight round of talks aimed at potentially removing the illegal and inhumane US sanctions.

The Iranian team has come up with many initiatives that have brought the prospect of an agreement near. The US and its allies—the UK, France, and Germany—have, however, refused to rise up to the opportunity.

Amir-Abdollahian repeated Iran’s assertion that the ball is in the Western side’s court to make or break the talks.

“We reckon that if the Western side should seek to adopt a realistic view of what is going on at the negotiation table in Vienna, we would be able to reach the stage of a final agreement within a couple of hours.”

The official also reasserted Iran’s objection to engaging in negotiation just for the sake of negotiation.

“We are not in Vienna to negotiate [just] for the sake of negotiation,” the top diplomat said. “Our goal has rather been arriving at a good agreement,” he added.

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