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‘Interim agreement’ ruled out by Iran in Vienna nuclear talks

Saying the proposal has never been on its agenda, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson ruled out an interim agreement in the ongoing talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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Saying the proposal has never been on its agenda, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson ruled out an interim agreement in the ongoing talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said Tehran only seeks a “stable and reliable agreement,” at a weekly presser in Tehran on Monday.

The eighth round of talks between Iran and the P4+1, consisting of Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany, to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal is currently underway in the Austrian capital.

Disagreements between Tehran and other parties on some key issues have prevented a breakthrough so far, even though both sides have officially noted progress in the talks.

Reports have emerged that a two-year interim agreement was being discussed by the parties earlier this month, an idea reportedly presented by Russia, under which Iran was required to scale down its uranium enrichment and discard its stockpile of highly enriched uranium.

The US was envisioned to give the green light to unfreezing Iran’s frozen assets in South Korea, Japan, and Iraq, among other countries, in return. However, the proposal was rejected by Tehran.

On Monday, Khatibzadeh said, “We presented real, practical and constructive initiatives in the talks,” while ruling out the possibility of an interim agreement.

Blaming Washington for the slow pace of talks, he said the Americans were “not ready” for some of the ideas offered by the Iranian diplomats in Vienna.

However, adding that the parties were “closer to an agreement than ever,” Khatibzadeh stated his satisfaction that the talks were “on the right track.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson also touched on recent remarks by the US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, that Washington was unlikely to strike a deal with Iran unless Tehran releases four US prisoners. In this regard, Khatibzadeh said Tehran “has not accepted any preconditions from the beginning”, adding that Malley’s remarks were made for “domestic use.”

Khatibzadeh noted, “The talks are already complicated enough, they should not be made more complicated.” He also said the US held many Iranian citizens hostage.

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