New Talks: World Statements

In April 2021, the European Union convened indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna. The goal was to create two separate roadmaps to bring Iran and the United States back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The other five countries that negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – also participated in the talks. Diplomats of the so-called “P4+1” countries met with U.S. and Iranian representatives in separate working groups.

The negotiations played out over six rounds:

  • The first round from April 6 to 9
  • The second round from April 15 to 20
  • The third round from April 27 to May 1
  • The fourth round from May 6 to May 19
  • The fifth round from May 25 to June 2
  • The sixth round which began on June 12

The goal of the Vienna talks was to draft a roadmap of steps -- one on the United States lifting sanctions and one on Iran rolling back its nuclear program. But U.S. and Iranian diplomats did not participate in the same sessions.

European diplomats lauded the Vienna meeting as a potential diplomatic breakthrough. “We have no time to lose,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on April 2. “Returning to a nuclear agreement fully respected by all sides would be a plus for security in the entire region.” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain urged Iran to be “constructive” in the Vienna talks and to “help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”

Both Russia and China also offered to mediate the Vienna talks but blamed Washington for the diplomatic impasse. “The U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA is the root cause of the tension in the Iranian nuclear situation,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on April 2, ahead of a virtual meeting between the P4+1 and Iran. “The pressing task now is for the U.S. to lift all illegal sanctions against Iran.”

Russia said that the United States would need to comply with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which mandated lifting nuclear sanctions on Iran, before returning to the nuclear deal. “The impression is that we are on the right track, but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive effort,” Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador in Vienna, tweeted. The following are statements by the world powers on new diplomacy.

Related Material:

 

European Union

Remarks by Enrique Mora, E.U. coordinator for the talks, on June 2: "I am sure that the next round will be the one in which we will finally get a deal."

Statement by the EU External Action Service on May 24: "The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume in a physical format this Tuesday 25 May, in Vienna.

"The Joint Commission will be chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

"Participants will continue their discussions in view of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and on how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA."

Tweet on Josep Borrell, High Representative of the E.U. for Foreign Affairs and Security, May 21:

 

Remarks by Mora on May 19: "I am quite sure that there will be a final agreement ... I think we are on the right track and we will get an agreement." 

 

Remarks by Borrell on May 10: “I am optimistic, there is a window of opportunity that will stay open for a couple of weeks, (until) end of the month...But a lot of work is needed, time is limited and I hope that the negotiations will enter into a phase of nonstop (talks) in Vienna."

Tweet by Borrell on May 3:

 

Tweet by Mora on May 1:

 

Tweet by Enrique Mora, E.U. coordinator for the talks, on April 27:

 

Statement by the EU External Action Service on April 26: "The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will resume its work in a physical format tomorrow, 27 April, in Vienna.

The Joint Commission will be chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

Participants will continue their discussions in view of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and on how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA."

Statement by the EU External Action Service on April 20: "The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resumed its work in Vienna in a physical format this Tuesday. The Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA.

"The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the EEAS Political Director Enrique Mora and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

"Participants took stock of progress made in the ongoing discussions in Vienna regarding specific measures needed in terms of sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation for the possible return of the US to the JCPOA and its full and effective implementation.

"The Joint Commission decided to create a third expert group to start looking into the possible sequencing of respective measures.

"Participants reiterated their resolve to further pursue their joint diplomatic effort including in the Joint Commission and through continued separate contacts of the Coordinator with all JCPOA participants and the United States.

"The Joint Commission will reconvene in the course of next week."

 

Tweet by Mora on April 18:

 

Tweet by Mora on April 15:

 

Statement by the EU External Action Service on April 9: "The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resumed its work in Vienna in a physical format this Friday. The Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the JCPOA.

"The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the EEAS Political Director Enrique Mora and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

"Participants took stock of the discussions held at various levels since the last Joint Commission in view of a possible return of the US to the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation. The Joint Commission was briefed on the work of the two expert groups on sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures and participants noted the constructive and results oriented exchanges. 

"In light of the joint ministerial statement of 21 December, the participants emphasised their resolve to further pursue the ongoing joint diplomatic effort. The coordinator will continue his separate contacts with all JCPOA participants and the United States.

"The Joint Commission tasked expert groups to continue their work and agreed to reconvene in Vienna in the course of next week."

 

Tweet by Mora on April 6:

 

Statement by EU External Action Service on April 2: “A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was held virtually on Friday, 2 April. Under the terms of the JCPOA, the Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement. The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the EEAS Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers/Political Directors.

“In line with the joint ministerial statement of 21 December participants recognised the prospect of a full return of the US to the JCPOA, and underlined their readiness to positively address this in a joint effort.  Participants also emphasised their commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation.

“Participants agreed to resume this session of the Joint Commission in Vienna next week, in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups. In this context, the coordinator will also intensify separate contacts in Vienna with all JCPOA participants and the United States.”

 

France

Remarks by French Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll on May 11: "The discussions that resumed on May 7 in Vienna have led to some initial progress on the nuclear issue. Nevertheless, major disagreements remain on some key points that must be ironed out in order to reach an agreement providing for the return of Iran and the United States and their full implementation of the JCPOA. There is still a lot to do, within very tight deadlines.

"There is a broad agreement on the urgency and importance of Iran’s return to full implementation of all the verification and surveillance measures provided by the JCPOA, which that country unilaterally suspended on February 23. Without the implementation of these measures, the IAEA is unable to fully carry out its mandate.

"If an agreement on Iran’s resumption of its commitments is not reached before the expiration of the bilateral technical arrangement between Iran and the Agency, they will have to agree on its extension.

"Along with its E3 partners, France continues to play a major role in these discussions, in a manner that is both rigorous, with respect to the fundamental challenges of non-proliferation, and pragmatic."

Remarks by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drain to the Guardian on May 6: “We need to achieve some progress urgently because due to Iran’s breaches of its own commitments Iran has never been closer to a nuclear weapon. The U.S. is very determined to make progress – they sent the necessary gesture and signals to show they were ready to take the necessary decisions to lift sanctions. At present Iran has not taken the corresponding gestures or signs about all their breaches of the accord since 2019. This is a crucial moment because it is now that the Iranians must take the necessary gestures.”

Statement by French Foreign Minister Le Drain on April 3: “I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place…They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”

 

Germany

Remarks by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on June 12: "It is about flexibility and pragmatism from all participating parties... Playing for time is in no-one's interest." 

Remarks by Maas on May 10: "The negotiations are tough and laborious but all participants are conducting the talks in a constructive atmosphere. However, time is running out. We aim for the full restoration of the Iran nuclear deal as this is the only way to guarantee that Iran will not be able to come into possession of nuclear weapons."

Statement by Maas on April 27: “All those involved want to play a constructive role and are trying to come to a result that looks like this; Iran fully returns to its commitments and the US is also ready to lift the sanctions it imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the JCPOA."

Statement by Maas on April 2: “I am pleased that all relevant actors have agreed to meet in Vienna starting next week to work on fully implementing the JCPOA again. Jointly with our E3 partners France and the United Kingdom, we have worked hard towards this goal over the last weeks.

“We have no time to lose. Returning to a nuclear agreement fully respected by all sides would be a plus for security in the entire region, and the best basis for talks on other important questions of regional stability.”

 

China

Tweet by the Permanent Mission of China in Vienna on April 17:

 

Remarks by Wang Qun, China's ambassador to the United Nations on April 15: “what is needed most now as a top priority is to do away with any disruptive factors and pick up the pace of negotiation here.”

Remarks by Ambassador Wang on April 9: "All parties have narrowed down their differences and we do see the momentum for gradually evolving consensus."

Statement by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on April 2: “The Iranian nuclear situation is at a critical stage. China has all along taken a just position and played a constructive role on the issue. We will take an active part in the JCPOA video conference to consolidate the consensus on preserving the JCPOA and discuss a roadmap for US and Iranian resumption of compliance in a synchronized, reciprocal manner, and work for the JCPOA to get back on track at an early date.

“I want to stress that the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA is the root cause of the tension in the Iranian nuclear situation. We welcome the willingness of the US side to return to the JCPOA. The pressing task now is for the US to lift all illegal sanctions against Iran and long-arm jurisdiction over a third party. This is an inherent requirement of the return to the JCPOA. On this basis, Iran should resume full implementation of the nuclear deal.

“China will work with other parties to advance the political settlement process of the Iranian nuclear issue, and at the same time resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”

 

Russia

Tweet by Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organizations, on June 3:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on June 2:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on June 1:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 31:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 26:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 25:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 20:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 19:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 16:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 7:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 6:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on May 1

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 28:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 27:

 

Tweet by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 26:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 20:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 19:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 18:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 17:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 16:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 15:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 10:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 9:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 7:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 6:

 

Tweets by Ambassador Ulyanov on April 2:

 

Updated