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‘Iran’s decision to have direct talks based on US behavior, not nuke messages’

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TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that Tehran’s decision on whether to have direct talks with the US is based on Washington’s behavior rather than its unclear messages.

Speaking in his weekly press conference, Khatibzadeh said that the IAEA chief’s Saturday trip to Iran was technical and in continuation of the talks in Vienna.

We will cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog based on the joint statement issued on Saturday, the spokesman said, adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran had responded to the IAEA’s questions, but the answers had to be given again within the technical framework and in a specific period.

Khatibzadeh confirmed that there was a direct link between closing the IAEA’s open issues and the potential deal in Vienna.

Asked about the Russian foreign minister’s remarks on the effect of anti-Russian sanctions on Moscow-Tehran trade, Khatibzadeh said that Iran is waiting to hear what was said from diplomatic channels.

The talks are followed up in the proper path, he added, and it was clear that Iran’s peaceful nuclear cooperation should not be limited nor should it be affected.

The diplomat described Russia’s approach in Vienna as “so far constructive”, adding that the teams have gathered together in Vienna to reach a collective agreement.

Khatibzadeh also described China’s stance in Vienna Talks as one of the most constructive ones, which would be pursued in the same path by Iran.

On the possibility of direct talks between Tehran and Washington, Khatibzadeh underlined that the US was no more a participant of the JCPOA and the commitments that it had to take on were clear for Iran and the P4+1, as it was willing to return to the deal.

A request for direct negotiation would be meaningful only when Iran knows the reason for such a meeting, he continued.

We haven’t witnessed any change in US behavior to date, the spokesman noted, adding that they have kept up with the maximum pressure against the Iranian people.

Khatibzadeh said that the two recent rounds of talks could be differentiated from the previous six rounds by continuity and change.

There was neither a complete continuity nor was there a complete change, he further elaborated, adding that what was happening in Vienna today was in the maximum interests of the Iranian nation with all of the red lines and instructions being observed by the Foreign Ministry.

On the Ukraine crisis, the spokesman said that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran was to reject war as a solution to the crisis, taking into consideration, though, the geopolitics of the region, international treaties, and bilateral agreements between countries.

What is happening in Ukraine is the result of NATO’s measures, he said, but Iran has invited everyone to a ceasefire and asked to address concerns on a diplomatic ground.

We are collaborating with our friends in Russia to help establish an immediate ceasefire, Khatibzadeh said, adding that the agreements between Ukraine and the former USSR were known and it was natural for every nation to stay with its government in such conditions.

He said that Iran’s foreign minister had received sporadic reports on deploying fighters from other countries to Ukraine, but it should be verified.

The most important thing is that everyone should try to keep the crisis under control and not let the war spread out, he went on to say.

Eurasia has had and is having enough of crises and Iran is supporting the negotiations to result in an immediate ceasefire and diplomatic solution, he added.

On the reports claiming that Russia wanted to pull out of the JCPOA, Khatibzadeh said that the Foreign Ministry had no credible information on the issues, but he reaffirmed that China and Russia had so far acted responsibly.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that Iran is seeking creative ways to expedite a solution in Vienna Talks.

“Vienna participants act & react based on interests and it’s understandable,” Shamkhani wrote in his Twitter account on Monday.

“Our interactions with 4+1 are also solely driven by our people’s interests,” he added.

“Thus, we’re assessing new elements that bear on the negotiations and will accordingly seek creative ways to expedite a solution,” he noted. The talks to lift the sanctions on Iran began on December 27, 2021, and now the success or failure of the negotiations merely depends on the political decisions of the Western sides.

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