Intensive Work Underway in Vienna to Revive JCPOA

Negotiators have bridged some gaps since nuclear talks began last year but differences remain, especially on the issue of US sanctions
Intensive Work Underway in Vienna to Revive JCPOA
Intensive Work Underway in Vienna to Revive JCPOA

A senior Russian diplomat said “intensive work” is underway between nuclear negotiators in Vienna on ways to secure the revival of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
“All three working groups [on #sanctions lifting, nuclear issues and implementation/sequencing] are to meet today to address the remaining outstanding issues,” Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said in a post on his Twitter account on Friday.
Envoys from Iran and the five remaining signatories to the deal, namely Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany, have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months with the aim of reviving the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, through bringing the US back to the deal.
The two sides have bridged some gaps since the talks began last year but differences remain, especially on the issue of US sanctions. Tehran wants all sanctions imposed by the administration of former US president Donald Trump removed and says the issue is its red line.



Moving Ahead 

In an earlier tweet, Ulyanov, who is the head of the Russian negotiating team in Vienna, said he held a “very useful” meeting with the US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley.
“We are definitely moving ahead at the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA,” the senior Russian diplomat said.
Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
In May 2019, following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by the other side.
The administration of US President Joe Biden says it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.
Head of the EU delegation to international organizations in Vienna Stephan Klement also said in a tweet on Friday that intensive consultations continue between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries “as time is of essence.”
Klement, who also serves as special advisor to the European External Action Service on the Iranian nuclear issue, added that he chaired a meeting of both sides’ working group on Friday morning.
“Our aim remains to ensure full implementation of all aspects of the #JCPOA,” he tweeted.
In a phone call with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the current US administration’s adherence to the failed policies of its predecessor with regard to Iran is the main obstacle to making “acceptable progress” in the Vienna negotiations.
“The US administration’s clinging to the failed policies of the former administration is the major obstacle to making acceptable progress in the negotiations,” Raisi stated.

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