Iran says US foreign policy 'taken hostage' by Israel

Iran's foreign minister speaks about Vienna nuclear talks at World Economic Forum in Davos.

Iran says US foreign policy 'taken hostage' by Israel

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Thursday Tehran is committed to reaching a deal during the Vienna nuclear talks, adding that US interests and foreign policy have been "taken hostage" by Israel.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he accused the Biden administration of being "indecisive" in talks to salvage the landmark 2015 nuclear deal following the previous administration's maximum pressure policy against Iran.

The annual event brings together over 2,000 representatives of governments, business organizations, civil society and media leaders to discuss global challenges.

In a session moderated by CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Iran's top diplomat said Tehran has put forward a number of initiatives to Washington to salvage the nuclear deal, but the Biden administration has been dragging its feet over them.

The marathon talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), are currently stalled due to key disagreements between Tehran and Washington.

Amir-Abdollahian said the pause in the talks has been due to "lack of economic guarantees" from the US and due to the fact that the new administration has followed the Donald Trump administration's policy against Iran.

He said Iran must enjoy "full economic benefits" of the deal, and the agreement must facilitate the country's economic and trade activity with the world.

The top diplomat, referring to one of the key sticking points in the talks — de-listing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) — said the issue has been magnified by Israel.

He said the "main factor" is the full economic benefits of the deal for Iran and its people, while adding that the Biden administration must "show goodwill" in de-listing IRGC.

Amir-Abdollahian added that Iran has endured sanctions for 40 years and has "other different options" on the table if the talks in Vienna do not lead to a "good and lasting agreement.”

He also spoke about tension-easing talks with regional arch-foe Saudi Arabia, saying the two sides have made small but significant progress and have agreed to hold talks at the level of foreign ministers in near future.

The talks between Tehran and Riyadh have been underway since April last year, brokered by the Iraqi government. Despite pauses and tensions, both sides have noted progress.

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran has "always kept its door open" for Saudi Arabia and is ready for normalization of ties with the Gulf neighbor, adding that it will contribute to stability in the region.

His remarks came a day after Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan told the Davos forum that progress had been made in talks with Iran, adding that "hands remain stretched" to Tehran.

Commenting on Russia's war in Ukraine, Amir-Abdollahian said Iran condemns the war, as well as conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, without mentioning or condemning close ally Moscow. He said Tehran is willing to mediate between the two warring countries.

On Yemen, the top Iranian diplomat said all Yemeni parties "should play a role" in determining the future of their country. He also denounced what he called "US support for terrorists" in the war-ravaged Arab country.