Iran must move forward regardless of nuclear deal, talks ‘going well’: Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader urged Iranian officials on Tuesday to not tie the country’s affairs to the fate of the negotiations of the nuclear deal, adding that talks between Tehran and world powers aimed at reviving the agreement are “going well.”

“Do not wait for an outcome from the nuclear negotiations when planning … do not let your work be disrupted by the negotiations,” state media quoted Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as saying in a meeting with a group of high-ranking officials.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters including foreign and nuclear policy, appeared pleased with the state of the nuclear talks, saying they are “going well.”

“Our negotiating team has so far resisted the excessive demands of the other side, and God willing, that will continue.”

Khamenei’s comments came as talks between the deal’s remaining signatories – Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – in Vienna have stalled.

The US, which abandoned the deal in 2018, is participating indirectly in the talks due to Tehran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

Among the key unresolved issues in the talks is Iran’s demand to have its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) removed from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

The US designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation under former President Donald Trump in 2019.

Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, responded by expanding its nuclear program, breaching most of the deal’s restrictions.

The Vienna talks, which began over a year ago, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement. The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

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