Vienna hosting new round of nuclear talks
Vienna’s luxury Palais Coburg hotel hosts today a fresh round of talks on the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal among delegations from Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
As was the case in the previous rounds of the nuclear negotiations, the U.S. delegation is also there to indirectly take part in the talks.
On Wednesday evening, the Iranian negotiating team, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani, left Tehran for the Austrian capital.
As announced by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, the new round of the talks is expected to focus on the proposed ideas by the sides, including those presented by the Islamic Republic to the other side earlier this week. He stressed that Iran is determined to reach a lasting agreement that would guarantee the nation’s rights and safeguard its interests, expressing hope that the other sides would prepare the ground for the effective progress of the negotiations through taking the required decisions and concentrating seriously on the resolution of the remaining differences.
On his way to Vienna on Wednesday, the European Union Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Enrique Mora, tweeted that he is going to the Austrian capital “to discuss #JCPOA back to full implementation on the basis of the coordinator’s text tabled on 20 July”.
A few days ago, the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said Europe had put forward a new proposal for the achievement of a nuclear agreement, claiming that the proposed plan has taken into account Iran’s economic interests and predicted the required measures to make it more difficult for the United States to make another exit from the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Many experts and media perceived Europe’s proposal and Borrell’s related opinion piece published by the Financial Times as an ultimatum to the negotiating sides or a warning against the consequences of a failure to reach an agreement.
Although the United States said earlier it was considering Europe’s proposed plan, it has announced ahead of the new round of the negotiations that it is not going to remove the Islamic Republic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday imposed new sanctions against Tehran, which was described by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as a bid aimed at extracting further concessions from the Islamic Republic in the talks.
Tehran, of course, reciprocated the hostile action by announcing that it has launched hundreds of new centrifuges, to counterbalance Washington’s coercive measure ahead of the negotiations.
Concurrently, Bagheri Kani tweeted that Iran “stands ready to conclude the negotiations in a short order, should the other side be ready to do the same”.
The Russian delegation also announced at the 10th NPT Review Conference that Moscow strongly stresses the necessity of resuming the JCPOA’s full implementation as soon as possible.
The new round of the talks in Vienna comes as the sides, during the past 18 months, have held lengthy negotiations over the nuclear issue and exchanged several proposals. At present, however, Europe’s proposal is on the table and Iran has said it has submitted its initiatives to the other sides.
Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi, in a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, 13 days ago, said achieving a nuclear agreement hinges on the complete resolution of the safeguards issues and provision of the necessary guarantees for all sides’ verifiable and continuous commitment to the deal and safeguarding Iran’s economic interests.
The Iranian foreign minister has frequently announced that Tehran seeks to reach a “good, robust and lasting” agreement.
In spite of the U.S. assessments and calculations, the protraction of the negotiations has not only failed to force Iran into backing down from its demands, but also enabled Tehran to, through implementing certain policies and measures, such as expanding relations with neighbors, China and Russia, manage the consequences of the White House’s sanctions. In addition, the continuation of the war in Ukraine has further highlighted Europe’s energy crisis in the absence of Iran’s oil and gas. Currently, everybody is waiting to see how the sides would react to the EU’s new proposal.
Iran has so far demonstrated the required goodwill and flexibility. Now, it appears that the ball is in the U.S. court. President Joe Biden is currently the one required to show whether he would be true to his election campaign’s promise of returning to the JCPOA or want to continue breaking it.
In his opinion piece, Borrell warned, “If the deal is rejected, we risk a dangerous nuclear crisis.”
The new round of the nuclear talks will once again put to test how willing the US is, and how responsibly it can act, to compensate for the mistake of withdrawing from the JCPOA.
Russia to launch Iran’s Khayyam satellite on Aug. 9
Russia will launch Iran’s Khayyam satellite aboard its Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on August 9, Roscosmos told reporters on Wednesday.
“We plan to launch a Soyuz-2.1b rocket, equipped with a Fregat upper stage, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on August 9, 2022; it will take the Khayyam remote earth probing spacecraft into orbit under an order of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the company said, adding that the spacecraft was designed and produced by Roscosmos enterprises, tass.com wrote. The rocket will also carry 16 smaller spacecraft, designed in various colleges, commercial companies and non-profit organizations.
“We also plan to deliver accompanying Russian small satellites: CubeSX-HSE-2, Monitor-1, UTMN, CYCLOPS, Siren, KAI-1, Kuzbass-300, Skoltech-B1, Skoltech-B2, Polytech Universe-1, Polytech Universe-2, Vizard, Geoscan-Edelweis, MIET-AIS, ISOI and ReshUCube,” the company said. “Russian spacecraft are designed for scientific and technological research, including development of inter-satellite communications channels, measurement of electromagnetic radiation, remote earth probing and monitoring of ecological situation,” Roscosmos added.
Earlier, a source in the space industry told tass.com that the next Soyuz launch is planned for early August.
China does not compromise long-term objectives for tactical action
Former Iranian ambassador to China
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to Taiwan, giving rise to a litany of comments and analyses. To analyze the American action and Chinese reaction, one needs to take note of the new balance of power that has emerged following the war in Ukraine.
In the first months of the war, the world situation remained uncertain since no one knew for sure what Russia’s goals were and how far it was willing to advance. Also, Russia’s military might was far from obvious as many thought that Ukraine would be defeated in just a few weeks. Immense military aid the West extended to Ukraine, however, turned the tide and transformed expectations.
In the meantime, many predicted or even expected China not to adopt a policy of neutrality, rather siding with Russia or at least providing it with weaponry. The Chinese, however, maintained their neutrality, or at least refused to offer Moscow their tangible, effective help.
On the other hand, American think tanks tried to draw parallels between Ukraine and Taiwan, accusing China of intimating the idea of attacking Taiwan. They planned to interpret and advertise China’s failure to actually make a move on Taiwan as an evidence of the West and the US having the upper hand. Countering the American psychological war, the Chinese, for their part, showed serious reactions and issued stern warnings, whereby they tried to foil claims of Beijing’s inability or weakness vis-à-vis Washington.
The Americans somehow wanted to test if China would break with protocols governing Washington-Beijing relations. And Pelosi’s trip for them was exactly a pretext as such to test China. Both sides proceeded to issue warnings and carry out some military measures or preparations. The US stationed three warships near Taiwan. On the other hand, in addition to issuing serious political and diplomatic warnings, the Chinese organized several military wargames around Taiwan and scrambled their warplanes to fly although they stopped short of crossing the median line between China and Taiwan.
The Chinese, of course, have not yet managed to stage a concrete military action against the Americans. But they have, in fact, taken a further step compared to 25 years ago when then-speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, visited Taiwan. In that time, the Chinese limited their reactions to issuing statements of protest and holding rallies inside mainland China, while this time they went beyond that in reacting to Pelosi’s visit, staging military reactions in the form of live-fire exercises.
In fact, Pelosi’s trip revealed that the issue of Taiwan and protecting China’s territorial integrity is still on Beijing’s agenda. Moreover, the Chinese seem to lack the capacity or the will to militarily implement their wishes and advance their policies, and won’t engage in a military crisis without a good reason. Taken at face value, the Americans took credit for the events of the last couple of days at the expense of the Chinese. But from a strategic point of view, the Chinese served Americans with a stern warning that China would take a bolder military action if the US engages in a similar activity in the future: Given the fact that they have made a bolder move compared to 25 years ago, they showed that they are ready to take further steps.
Owing to both the global balance of power and their own long-term plans and objectives, the Chinese currently tend to treat various issues more conservatively, which means they wouldn’t compromise their long-term objectives for one tactical, emotionally-charged action. The Chinese expect their economy to catch up to that of America by 2025. That is, they have set economy to be their primary area of rivalry with the US. Therefore, they know that getting involved in a military crisis would not be helpful to advancing their long-term economic policies. That’s why Beijing tries various ways to manage different crises in order to keep them from undermining its lofty objectives.
‘Taiwan independence’ a dead end
Chinese Ambassador to Iran
In disregard of China’s strong opposition and serious representations, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited China’s Taiwan region. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”. This visit blatantly engages in political provocations, and has aroused strong indignation among the Chinese people and widespread opposition from the international community.
There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The one-China principle is the premise for the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, and is also the political foundation of China-U.S. relations. The United States has made solemn commitment to China on the Taiwan question, but in real action, it has constantly upgraded substantive relations and official exchanges with Taiwan, emboldened and supported “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, attempted to use Taiwan to contain China, and severely undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese government and the Chinese people have taken and will continue to take resolute and forceful measures to firmly safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
The historical ins and outs of the Taiwan question are crystal clear, and so are the fact and status quo that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities, in disregard of the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and the well-being of the people in Taiwan, has served as a tool for external anti-China forces, which fully exposes its dangerous attempt of clinging to U.S. support to seek “independence”. The Chinese nation has a glorious tradition of opposing division and maintaining unity. The separatist attempt seeking “Taiwan independence” is now the biggest obstacle to the reunification of the motherland, and a serious potential danger to China’s national rejuvenation. Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end; they will be disdained by the people and condemned by history. China’s reunification is a historical trend and the right path, while “Taiwan independence” goes against the tide of history, and it is a path to nowhere.
With the reunification of our motherland being the unstoppable trend of history, any attempts to seek “independence” are doomed to fail.
There is no room for any country to compromise when it comes to the issues of right and wrong, and especially the issues concerning its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The U.S. has intensified its efforts to “use Taiwan to contain China”, pushing the situation in the Taiwan Strait to further tensions, and will surely pay a heavy price. The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question has been consistent. It is the firm commitment of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to resolutely safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have already solemnly stated that China will take strong measures to thwart foreign interference or any attempts to seek “Taiwan independence” if the U.S. insists on following the wrong path. We do as we say. No country, no forces and no individuals should ever misestimate the firm resolve, strong will and great capability of the Chinese people to defend the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of their motherland.
China and Iran are comprehensive strategic partners. In the face of the complicated international situation, China and Iran have strengthened solidarity and cooperation, enhanced the common interests of the two sides, and safeguarded the legitimate rights and interests of the vast developing countries. We firmly support each other on issues concerning respective core interests and major concerns, and uphold non-interference in others’ internal affairs, which is a basic norm governing international relations. When speaking to President Xi Jinping on the phone several days ago, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi emphasized that Iran firmly pursues the one-China principle and supports China in safeguarding its core interests. Upon Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan, the Foreign Ministry of Iran immediately issued a statement condemning America’s provocative actions and interference in China’s internal affairs. We highly appreciate and commend Iran’s timely support. We stand ready to work with Iran to constantly push for new progress in the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership.
The will of the people is not to be defied, and the trend of the times cannot be reversed. China must be unified, and it is bound to be unified. The time and momentum to achieve the reunification of our motherland are always firmly in our own hands. The determination of the Chinese government and Chinese people to achieve reunification is rock solid and will not be changed by anyone, any forces or any countries. We firmly oppose the interference by foreign forces and so-called “Taiwan independence”, and we will never leave any space for “Taiwan independence” separatist activities in any form!