Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear deal conclude hopeful opening week

The first week of talks to restore Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers has concluded with all sides hopeful of continuing the discussions that started in Vienna.

A Joint Commission meeting of the remaining participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – was held in the Austrian capital on Friday following a virtual meeting last week and an in-person meeting on Tuesday.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran was in favour of continuing the talks if all sides continue to exhibit “political will and seriousness” to restore the deal that the United States unilaterally abandoned in May 2018.

For now, negotiators – including those from the US who were in Vienna but in a different hotel as Iran refuses to meet them directly – will head back to reflect on the progress made this week. The talks will continue on Wednesday.

“The JCPOA participants took stock of the work done by experts over the last three days and noted with satisfaction the initial progress made,” tweeted Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative at the talks that are aimed at figuring out how remaining parties can facilitate the return of the US and bring Iran back into full compliance after it started steps in 2019 to scale back its commitments.

After Tuesday’s meeting, two working groups were formed. One was to list the sanctions the US started imposing in 2018 that would need to be lifted while the other would gauge what measures Iran needs to take to return to full compliance with the accord.

Gharibabadi said all sanctions initially removed as part of the JCPOA and later reimposed by former US President Donald Trump, all new sanctions and all sanctions imposed using “non-nuclear excuses” need to be lifted.

On Thursday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US is ready to remove sanctions, “including those that are inconsistent” with the deal.


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