In an interview with Italy’s state-owned TV Channel Rai 1 Tuesday, The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said overcoming some “very significant differences” in the Vienna talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal mostly depends on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Succeeding in overcoming “some very significant differences” that still remain, Blinken said, “mostly depends on decisions that are made in Tehran by the Supreme Leader.”

Blinken added that the deal can be revived if Iran is “willing to do what is necessary to come back into compliance with the nuclear agreement” and said the US is fully prepared for the revival of the nuclear agreement – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – if Iran does that. “But I think right now the decision is with Iran about whether it’s serious about doing that.”

In a meeting Monday with the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House, US President Joe Biden tried to reassure Israel that the revival of the JCPOA and the return of the US to the deal does not mean the US will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch.”

Former US president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 before imposing stringent sanctions on Iran, prompting it from 2019 to boost its nuclear program beyond JCPOA limits.

Stressing in his weekly press conference Tuesday that the outgoing government of President Hassan Rouhani is prepared to finalize the deal immediately if Iran’s conditions are met, government spokesman Ali Rabiei threatened that the government will pass on the Vienna talks to the administration of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi). Rabiei hinted that an early agreement might suit both Rouhani and Biden administrations and said time for “all sides” to decide is now.

The Vienna talks, underway since early April, are concentrated on which US sanctions would be removed, and which steps in Iran’s nuclear program reversed or adapted, for the JCPOA to be back in place. Diplomats connected with talks in Vienna told Iran International TV last week that United States sanctions on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his office is currently a sticking point.

On Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh suggested the change in government would make no difference to the talks, telling reporters that “decisions on the nuclear agreement are not made by the country’s administration.”

In recent months –particularly after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei publicly chastised Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and told him the ministry is only an agent, not a decisionmaker in foreign policy – officials of Rouhani administration have been more equivocal about the fact that major decisions on the nuclear issue are made by Khamenei who is often referred to in this context as “highest officials of the system”.

Meanwhile, reporting to the UN Security Council on Wednesday [June 30], Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the Biden administration to lift or waive all sanctions on Iran as agreed under a 2015 deal while also appealing to Iran to return to full implementation of its commitments under the deal.

Guterres said that full restoration of the JCPOA remains the best way to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful.

Source » trackpersia