0921 GMT May 13, 2021
Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – have been in talks this month to salvage the agreement which has been unravelling since former US president Donald Trump pulled out of it in 2018 and imposed tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The withdrawal prompted Iran to, in turn, step up its nuclear activities a year later.
“Summing up the results of two weeks of deliberations on JCPOA restoration, we can note with satisfaction that the negotiations entered the drafting stage,” Ulyanov tweeted.
“Practical solutions are still far away, but we have moved from general words to agreeing on specific steps toward the goal,” he added.
Iran, Russia, China and the European Union all hailed progress at the talks Saturday following an act of sabotage on the Natanz nuclear facility, which Iran blamed on Israel.
On Friday, Iran also announced that it was producing uranium enriched to 60% purity, above the threshold allowed by the deal, in response to the sabotage.
Iran has said it will reverse steps taken so far if the US lifts all sanctions imposed under the Trump administration.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that the US wanted to be sure of Iran’s compliance, AFP wrote.
“The United States is not going to lift sanctions, unless we have clarity and confidence that Iran will fully return to compliance with its obligations under the deal that it will put a lid on its nuclear program,” he said.
The Iran delegation head, Abbas Araqchi, said Saturday that “a new agreement is taking shape” but warned that it won’t be easy.
“We think that negotiations have reached a stage that the parties can start working on a joint text. The writing of the text can start, at least in the fields with a consensus,” Araqchi said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the ongoing Vienna talks will progress if the US abolishes Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran and commits to its obligations under the JCPOA.
“Consultations will progress more easily if the US decides to move away from Trump’s failed legacy and live up to its commitments,” Khatibzadeh said, according to Press TV.
Iran’s measures taken after the US withdrawal “will be ceased only when the US removes the sanctions and we verify that,” the spokesman said.
According to Khatibzadeh, one of the key issues is that the Biden administration does not recognize some of the sanctions imposed under Trump related to the JCPOA, but the Iranian negotiators have “stressed that those sanctions were intended to make a return to the nuclear accord more difficult.”
“At the time, Trump administration officials unashamedly said that the sanctions were imposed with that motive,” the spokesman added.
‘No new deal besides JCPOA’
Asked whether the US has shown signs of flexibility in removing the sanctions, Khatibzadeh said the answer was positive, but stressed that what counts is what is achieved at the end of the negotiations.
He also underscored that there will be “no new agreement apart from the JCPOA”.
He said the current Vienna talks are held with the aim of clarifying the path of the violator’s return to its commitments under the JCPOA.