VIENNA, July 28. /TASS/. Iran looking at further reduction of its commitments under JCPOA by September 4-5 as part of less-for-less approach, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Sunday after a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"Further we are in early September, with September 4-5 being a reference date, when Iran plans to take the so-called third step to reduce its commitments as part of the less-for-less approach," he said.
"We called on the Iranians to refrain from that after all," he said, adding that it is necessary to see to it that Iran really has the economic possibilities that were provided by the deal and lost due to the US sanctions.
"Some participants (in the deal - TASS) think that Iran must get back to the implementation of its commitments in full without any additional reservations or conditions," he said. "But in the current situation, it looks absolutely unrealistic."
Modernization of reactor at Iran’s Arak
Ryabkov added that the project for the modernization of the heavy water reactor at Iran’s Arak is nearing the equipment purchasing stage.
"Progress has been made on the Arak project," he said. "It is not nominal. The stage of practical, purchasing activities is nearing. It is a separate question who will supply equipment there and what kind of equipment. But as a matter of fact, it is not a political question. It is a question to the designers."
According to the Russian diplomat, the prospects for handing over equipment for the modernization of the reactor at Arak are seen as quite sensitive in some countries. "Anyway, we have an indirect relation to this project," he noted. "We are not going to supply any equipment there. All we can do is to offer our consultancy.".
The European special purpose vehicle INSTEX aiming at facilitating trade between the European Union and Iran is operating in the pilot mode and a series of procedures are needed to make fully operational, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister noted.
"INSTEX is operating in the pilot regime. To make it fully operational certain political and bureaucratic procedures are to be finalized, in particular, to sign additional documents between ISTEX and a similar structure set up in Iran," Ryabkov said.
The European Union announced the launch of the INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) vehicle at a previous meeting of political directors on June 28. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on July 17 that a number deals with several millions of US dollars had been executed via INSTEX but, in his words, it was not enough. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said earlier on Sunday that the EU’s vehicle was not yet operational.
No understanding reached on detention of tanker
No understanding on the situation around the Grace 1 tanker with Iranian oil that had been detained in the Strait of Gibraltar was reached at Sunday’s meeting of the Joint Commission of the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Ryabkov said.
"The topic of Gibraltar was touched upon. The problem of the detention of the tanker with Iranian oil was discussed quite energetically, I’d say, fightingly," he noted.
"I cannot say that this discussion was crowned by understanding, rather the opposite. Anyway, it was useful from the point of view of clarifying positions," he added.
Ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal
It is too early to speak about a date for a ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Sunday after a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"It is too early to speak about a ministerial meeting on the JCPOA. Extra work will be done at the expert level in the near future. Experts continued to discuss various aspects of the deal already today. It look like additional discussions with the capitals, telephone calls and paperwork will be needed to agree an optimal time for such a contact," he said.
He said that Moscow would not like to delay such a meeting but thinks it not right to force it at the expense of its tasks either.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Sunday that a ministerial meeting would take place soon but "the time is not fixed yet.".