Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers recommenced in Vienna on Monday after a brief New Year’s break with negotiators engaging in bilateral and multilateral meetings.
The eighth round began last week with a focus on the removal of US sanctions on Iran in a verifiable process and guarantees that Washington will not ditch the multilateral accord, officially called the JCPOA, as it did under former president Donald Trump in 2018.
Iran's chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said on Thursday that “good progress” was made during the discussions last week.
Hour before the resumption of the Vienna talks, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said the European parties to the JCPOA – France, Britain and Germany – have realized that they have to back down from their “maximalist demands” in order to revive the deal.
“If we have a common text today, that’s because the Western side realized that it must back down from its maximalist demands, and what we have today (the text) is a result of the Western parties’ realization in the Vienna talks that they cannot demand anything beyond the JCPOA on the nuclear issue and implement fewer commitments to lifting sanctions than those stipulated under the JCPOA,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a news conference, Press TV reported.
Khatibzadeh hailed two other parties – Russia and China – for their positive roles in the Vienna talks, saying unlike the European trio, they “do not have Alzheimer’s and know that it was the Americans who actively tried to destroy the JCPOA.”
Trump launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran by imposing the “toughest ever sanction” on the country after he unilaterally walked out of the JCPOA in order to pressure the country into negotiating a “better deal”.
Now his successor Joe Biden seeks to rejoin the deal. Iran demands that the US must remove its sanctions before it reenters the deal.
The US is not participating in the talks, as it is no longer a JCPOA member.
Khatibzadeh noted that Iran and the US exchange their views via indirect, written texts in order to avoid any misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
He said progress has been made in four areas of the talks, namely, the lifting of sanctions, nuclear issues, the guarantees, and the verification. The spokesman noted that the level of progress made in the four areas varies.
Iran said a “good deal” would be within reach as soon as possible “if the opposing sides continue the talks in good faith”.