American Desire to Maintain Sanctions Biggest Obstacle to JCPOA Revival

If the US is interested in rejoining the deal, it should not only lift all JCPOA-related sanctions, but also all bans imposed, reimposed or relabeled during the Trump administration, Araqchi said
American Desire to Maintain Sanctions Biggest Obstacle to JCPOA Revival
American Desire to Maintain Sanctions Biggest Obstacle to JCPOA Revival

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the biggest obstacle to the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal is the American desire to maintain the sanctions imposed on Tehran by former US president, Donald Trump. 
He made the statement in an interview with the Japanese broadcaster NHK on Saturday, while heading Iran’s delegation in the ongoing talks in Vienna, Austria, with the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
The current negotiations focus on ways of restoring the deal that has been unraveling since the US pulled out unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran.
Iran also responded by reducing its compliance in steps that it said would be reversed once it can enjoy JCPOA’s economic benefits once again. 
The new US administration intends to rejoin the deal, but calls on Iran to resume full compliance first. Iran insists that all US sanctions must be lifted before it stops the remedial measures. 
“Our position is actually that if the US is really interested in coming back to JCPOA, they should not only lift all JCPOA-related sanctions, but also all sanctions imposed or reimposed or relabeled during the Trump administration,” Araqchi told NHK. 
He has said repeatedly during the talks that Iran is prepared to return to full compliance, as soon as the bans are removed and their effectiveness is verified. 
Washington, however, seems to be refusing to lift its sanctions completely, apparently intending to keep some of them in place to be used as leverage in the follow-up talks that they wish to initiate with Tehran on JCPOA timelines as well as Iran’s non-nuclear activities.  
A senior US State Department official involved in the talks said, however, that negotiations will fail as long as Tehran demands the lifting of all US sanctions. 
He said the US is preparing to “partially” lift its sanctions, if Iran returns to compliance with the deal.



Best Outcome 

JCPOA’s Joint Commission has convened twice over the past weeks and is set to meet again on Wednesday to find a solution to the impasse. 
In the meantime, two expert groups are working on a feasible process for sanctions removal by the US and nuclear implementation by Iran. 
Although not attending the commission meetings, a US delegation is stationed in Vienna to engage in the talks through Europe. 
Araqchi said the best outcome would be a conclusion within five or six weeks, citing Iran's agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allow conditional inspection of its nuclear facilities until late May.
In line with its reciprocal steps and as per a parliamentary law on late February, Iran suspended IAEA access to some of its nuclear sites, but agreed to maintain the possibility of inspection for three months in a black-box type agreement with the agency to leave room for diplomacy.  
Officials in Tehran declared that if US sanctions are not revoked until that deadline, IAEA’s access would be permanently restricted and the three-month data would be deleted forever. 

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