New Talks: World Statements

From April 6 to 9, 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. After the first week of talks, the parties reconvened on April 15.

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.

 

European Union

Tweet by Enrique Mora, E.U. coordinator for the talks, 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

Statement by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves 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

Statement by Germany Foreign Minister Heiko 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

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

Tweets by Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of Russia to International Organizations 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