Talks on salvaging a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers wrapped up in Vienna on Saturday with participants expressing satisfaction with the progress made so far.
Parties to the 2015 nuclear deal or the JCPOA – Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – have held several rounds of talks within the framework of the accord’s Joint Commission in an effort to bring on track the troubled agreement from which former US president Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and imposed tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The talks are aimed at determining which sanctions the United States should lift and the measures Iran has to take to come into compliance with the accord.
After the meeting, Iran’s negotiator Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said a “new understanding” seems to be in the making among JCPOA members and that the path to be taken for a “final goal” is now “better known”.
“This will not be an easy path,” Araqchi said, according to IRNA. “There are some serious disagreements that should be narrowed during the next negotiations.”
He said talks have reached a stage where the JCPOA parties can start working on a joint draft agreement.
The senior diplomat said Iran has put forward a draft that can be used as a base for reaching a final deal on the removal of US sanctions and Iran’s nuclear work.
The European Union is coordinating the discussions and the chair of the meeting, EU diplomat Enrique Mora, said that “progress has been made” after what he called “intensive talks”.
“We need now more detailed work. Key that everyone is committed to the same objectives: US rejoining the JCPOA and its full implementation,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to the UN atomic watchdog, said participants are determined to continue negotiations “to complete the process successfully as soon as possible.”
“The meeting of the Joint Commission of #JCPOA is over. The participants took note with satisfaction of the progress made so far and expressed determination to continue negotiations with a view to complete the process successfully as soon as possible,” Ulyanov tweeted.
“The Joint Commission instructed expert-level working groups on US sanctions lifting and nuclear issues to continue their activities on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and next week in order not to waste time and to make further progress in the negotiations on JCPOA restoration,” Ulyanov added in another tweet.
China's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, Wang Qun, also told reporters that all remaining parties to the JCPOA have agreed to accelerate work on issues including which sanctions the United States would lift, Reuters wrote.
“We will continue. All parties have agreed to further pick up their pace in subsequent days by engaging (in) more extensive, substantive work on sanctions-lifting as well as other relevant issues,” Wang said.
‘Meddlesome’ remarks rejected
Meanwhile, Iran said the “clumsy, irresponsible and meddlesome” remarks by the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council aimed to harm the nuclear talks in the Austrian capital.
“These irresponsible remarks are made in continuation of their anti-Iran remarks which are not meant to make a request for participation but seek to destroy the trend of technical talks in Vienna,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday, according to Press TV.
The Persian Gulf Arab states should take into account the dangers of hundreds of Israeli nuclear warheads and Tel Aviv’s refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region, Khatibzadeh said.
In letters sent to the foreign ministers of the permanent members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Nayef Al-Hajraf, the secretary-general of the Arab body, said the nuclear talks in Vienna must address the concerns and interests of the Persian Gulf countries to enhance security and stability in the region.