Progress in Vienna Talks on Sanctions Relief

Progress in Vienna Talks on Sanctions Relief Progress in Vienna Talks on Sanctions Relief

Iran and the major powers have made progress in nuclear talks on the issue of sanctions relief for Tehran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told journalists in Vienna.

“In principle, there has been a shift on certain issues, especially the subject of a future UN Security Council resolution, which is important for us. There is fair progress on the issue of lifting sanctions.”  

The Russian nuclear negotiator said sanctions will be suspended and subsequently canceled depending on how the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies the actions of the Iranian side, Sputnik reported.

“The pace of lifting sanctions should be acceptable for the Iranian side, I think, although it would be best that they comment on this,” Ryabkov said. In May, Ryabkov announced that Russia was ready to consider different scenarios of transporting excess nuclear material from Iran to Russia.However, Tehran’s position on the issue was not clear at the time.

“Russia and Iran are close to an agreement on the parameters of possible removal of excess nuclear material to Russia,” he told journalists in the Austrian capital. Russia continues to have disputes with other members of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on the pace of lifting the arms embargo against Iran, Ryabkov added.   

  Sharp Disputes

“This was expected and we did not think that everything would work out easily here (on the issue of arms embargo). There is still time to argue on this issue, which is what we will be doing,” he said, adding that the disputes are “sharp and lacking constructive development.” According to the senior diplomat, disagreements remain on a number of issues in the nuclear talks, although efforts are being made to resolve all disputes as soon as possible, as the deadline of June 30 for a final agreement between Iran and the P5+1 approaches.

The foreign ministers of the P5+1 plan to meet at the end of June, Ryabkov said.  

“I assume that the meeting (of P5+1 foreign ministers) will be held before June 30,” he said, noting that in the coming days all remaining minor disagreements should be eliminated so that the ministers can focus on just a few major issues of dispute between Iran and the six major powers.

In April, Iran and the P5+1 agreed to a political framework on the Iranian nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

Tehran agreed to cut back uranium enrichment activities and decrease its number of centrifuges in exchange for sanctions relief.

The process for lifting sanctions has been one of the sticking points in the talks. Russia insists that one of the first steps in sanctions relief should be the lifting of the arms embargo imposed against Iran over its nuclear activities, which the West claims may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has stressed that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.