EU Coordinator of the Vienna talks, Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Enrique Mora, arrived in Tehran Saturday night to meet Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Baqeri, who has not returned to Vienna since leaving for consultations in Tehran on March 11. On Friday, Mora tweeted: “Travelling to Tehran tomorrow to meet @Bagheri_Kani. Working on closing the remaining gaps in the #ViennaTalks on the #JCPOA. We must conclude this negotiation. Much is at stake.”
Iran’s Press TV blamed the US for the stalemate, accusing it of being “reluctant to take confidence-building measures due to its erroneous bias, procrastination in decision-making and excessive demands.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Hussein Amir Abdullahian, on Saturday repeated the demand the US remove all illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic in a verifiable manner and offer guarantees that a new US administration will not breach the JCPOA again before it can rejoin the deal.
Those “illegal sanctions” are the inclusion of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the State Dept. list of terrorist organizations, the only state-run group on that list.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Israel for talks on Sunday with PM Bennett, FM Lapid, and DM Gantz, and on Monday with the foreign minister of the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Morocco, is bound to hear an earful about the danger in removing the Iranian regime’s main spreader of violence from the banned list, thus giving it access to the world’s banking system.
In a televised speech Saturday, Abdollahian said that removing individuals and entities from “the US red list and list of unilateral sanctions, such as certain holdings and state entities, as well as the IRGC” is one of Iran’s main issues in the Vienna talks
Last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid expressed their shock and dismay over the reports that the Biden Administration is making overtures to the IRGC and plans to remove it from the blacklist.
In an unusual move criticizing the US administration, Bennett and Lapid released a joint statement saying “The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are Hezbollah in Lebanon, they are Islamic Jihad in Gaza, they are the Houthis in Yemen, they are the militias in Iraq. The IRGC is responsible for attacks on American civilians and American forces throughout the Middle East, including in the past year. The IRGC was behind plans to assassinate senior American government officials. The IRGC was involved in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, they destroyed Lebanon and they are brutally oppressing Iranian civilians. They kill Jews because they are Jews, Christians because they are Christians, and Muslims because they refuse to surrender to them. They are an integral part of the brutal machine of oppression in Iran. Their hands have on them the blood of thousands of Iranians and the crushed soul of the Iranian society.”
The two leaders concluded: “The attempt to delist the IRGC as a terrorist organization is an insult to the victims and would ignore documented reality supported by unequivocal evidence. We find it hard to believe that the IRGC’s designation as a terrorist organization will be removed in exchange for a promise not to harm Americans. The fight against terrorism is a global one, a shared mission of the entire world. We believe that the United States will not abandon its closest allies in exchange for empty promises from terrorists.”