The upcoming US-Iran talks should focus on the removal of oil sanctions, not on the nuclear issue, which has been resolved with the 2015 agreement, according to Iran's top negotiator on Wednesday.
'We do not have nuclear talks, because the nuclear issue was resolved in 2015 in the form of an agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1,' said Ali Bagheri-Kani, speaking at an interview with Iran's Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) News Agency.
Iran and six other powers have been in talks since April to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal was terminated three years ago by former US President Donald Trump, who re-imposed sanctions that have severely hampered Iran's economy by drastically reducing its oil exports.
Although a slew of sanctions aimed at the energy industry in Iran was lifted on June 10, sanctions on the country's oil exports are still in place.
Since the election of Iran's new hard-line president Ebrahim Raisi in June, talks have halted. However, Ali Baqeri Kani, Iran's principal negotiator, announced earlier in November that his administration had agreed to meet in Vienna on Nov. 29.
The Iranian chief negotiator's remarks came one day after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that after six rounds of discussions with former President Hassan Rouhani's administration, the talks with Iran must begin where they left off on June 20.
When the US pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed 'maximum pressure' sanctions, the Iranian economy went into a tailspin, according to Bagheri-Kani.
'Right now, the main issue we're dealing with is the consequences of the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, which is limited to the illegal sanctions placed on Iran,' Bagheri-Kani added.
Iran is among the founding members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and according to the October monthly oil report of OPEC, the country produced around 2.5 million barrels of crude oil in September.
By Sibel Morrow