Dec 4, 2021, 1:07 PM
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"Highly qualified," American expert says of Iranian negotiating team

New York, IRNA – Mark Fitzpatrick, an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that Iran's negotiating team are "highly qualified", expressing content over the resumption of talk in Vienna to remove sanctions against Iran.

Fitzpatrick made the remarks in an interview with IRNA on Saturday, when he was asked about his assessment of Iran's initiative to change the composition of the negotiating team and the presence of economic and sanctions experts.

He also said that the Iranian team has few nuclear experts and the dominance of experts on finance and sanctions shows that Iran's focus, at least for now, is on what it wants from the West.

Asked about what effective steps the US should take to lift sanctions instead of pursuing a failed policy of pressure, given the US violation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Tehran's distrust of Washington, Fitzpatrick said, "The US is ready to lift all sanctions that would impede implementation of the JCPOA."

However, he added, restoration of the JCPOA requires "simultaneous actions" by both Tehran and Washington.

"US law prevents the Biden Administration from unilaterally lifting sanctions without reciprocal action by Iran," the expert said, adding "I agree that the Trump policy of pressure failed […] Both sides should now seek together to find success."

On the influence of third parties such as the Israeli regime on the Vienna talks, he said that the Biden team has sought to reassure its partners in the region, including Israel, by conducting extensive and frequent talks with them.

"It will take their concerns into serious consideration. Ultimately, however, the US will make decisions in the talks based on its own assessment of what is best for the goals of global non-proliferation and regional peace and stability," the American expert said.

With regards to Israel's known opposition to the deal and a possible guarantee to prevent the Israeli regime's acts of sabotage in Iran, the expert said the new Israeli government was "more ready to cooperate with the Biden Administration."

"I doubt it will conduct sabotage attacks as long as Iran is seriously engaged in negotiations", Fitzpatrick added, while he didn’t rule out considering other options by the Israeli regime in case of delay or stop in the talks.

However, the American experts said that he was glad that the talks were finally resuming after five and a half months of delay, adding that he doubted if "they can be concluded successfully."

On Biden's struggle with Republicans on rejoining the JCPOA, Fitzpatrick said that Biden had to balance a precarious political situation, where even some members of his own party, as well as all of the Republicans, disfavor a strict compliance for compliance agreement.

"But Biden has enough executive authority to permit him to conclude and implement such an agreement," he added.

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