Russian diplomat hints US holding secret talks with Iran to salvage JCPOA

Washington and Tehran may be engaged in secret negotiations to strike a deal on saving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday.

“Whatever is done in the dark eventually comes to light, and this is obvious,” Ryabkov said speaking to journalists.

“We have witnessed situations in the past when the United States and Iran held indirect contacts behind closed doors. It should be not excluded that similar contacts are taking place even now,” the diplomat elaborated.

“The most important thing for us today is that the United States returns to full implementation of [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231,” Ryabkov continued.

“If a deal is inked now, but the JCPOA – as concluded in 2015 and approved by Resolution 2231 – is not renewed, this would mean that Washington would continue to be in gross violation of the resolution,” he added.

“We are already drawing conclusions from current developments,” he stated.

Iran has cautioned the United States that the window of opportunity for an agreement on reviving the nuclear deal will not remain open forever, urging Washington to adopt a constructive approach to salvage the accord.

Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with six world states — namely the U.S., Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. But, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and its subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran left the future of the deal in limbo.

Negotiations between the parties to the landmark agreement kicked off in Vienna in April 2021, with the intention of bringing the U.S. back into the deal and putting an end to its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.

The discussions, however, have been at a standstill since August 2022 due to Washington’s insistence on not lifting all of the anti-Iran sanctions and offering the necessary guarantees that it will not exit the agreement again.

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