Nuclear Deal Panel Addresses Iranian Concerns

Nuclear Deal Panel Addresses Iranian ConcernsNuclear Deal Panel Addresses Iranian Concerns

A panel that monitors the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers convened in Vienna on Tuesday for a quarterly review of the pact.

The meeting of the Joint Commission was held at the level of deputy foreign ministers, ISNA reported.

It brought together the representatives of Iran, the US, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany, parties to the agreement that has been in place since January 2016 to curtail Tehran's nuclear activities in return for relief from international sanctions.

Iran's deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi, who led the Iranian delegation, held separate talks with their Russian, Chinese and EU counterparts and International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano on the sidelines of the commission's meeting.   

They were expected to address Iran's deal-related grievances, including the uncooperative US approach, during the commission's meeting, the seventh since the deal took effect and first since US President Donald Trump assumed office.

Trump has vehemently criticized the agreement, negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, and has ordered a "full review".

Despite the sanctions relief, Iran remains on the US State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of anti-Israel groups and is still subject to the US non-nuclear sanctions, including for alleged human rights abuses.

Since entering office in January, Trump has used the terrorism allegations as well as those related to the Islamic Republic's missile program to add dozens of people and entities to its sanctions list.

Despite the removal of sanctions, Iran is exasperated that few trade deals are going through, as foreign banks have desisted from undertaking trade with Iranian counterparts.

They assess as too high the risk of engagement with Iranians, which could cost them hefty penalties over breaking the non-nuclear US sanctions that forbid clearing dollar-denominated transactions with Iran through US banks.

Their fears have been exacerbated by toughened US stance under the current hawkish administration.

Britain's move to block Iran's deal for the purchase of 900 tons of yellowcake from Kazakhstan was also likely to come up in the panel's meeting.

Iran is authorized by the agreement to purchase natural uranium or yellowcake. However, to do so, it needs to obtain the approval of the Joint Commission, a body of representatives from all the seven parties to the nuclear pact tasked with monitoring it and addressing complaints and grievances during its implementation.

Iran submitted a request to the panel a few months ago to buy 900 tons of Kazakh yellowcake.

While other powers gave their consent, Britain developed cold feet at the last minute, denying Iran the unanimous endorsement to allow the yellowcake deal to go through.


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