Talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers continued in Vienna on Saturday with a working group on lifting sanctions discussing key issues of verification and assurances.
Participants at the expert-level meeting reviewed the details of proposed mechanisms on guarantees of non-repetition of violation that Iran seeks from the United States.
Russian chief negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted that the working group “assessed the current state of affairs” on sanctions lifting.
Over the past two days, delegates also engaged in “intense discussions at various levels and formats”, IRNA wrote.
According to Fars News Agency, representatives of the Central Bank of Iran and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran took part in some meetings in order to “expedite negotiations and offer detailed expert opinions”.
Iran wants the US administration of President Joe Biden to give assurances that further governments will not violate the multilateral agreement again as former president Donald Trump did in 2018 when he unilaterally walked out of it and reimposed and reinforced sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Tehran also demands that all those sanctions be removed “effectively, practically and verifiably” after the tattered pact, known as the JCPOA, is restored.
“A checklist for the verification of US measures” with regards to the removal of sanctions is being prepared, Tasnim News Agency wrote.
Later in the day, heads of the delegations of Iran and other JCPOA parties – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – also held bilateral and multilateral meetings.
Negotiations, now in their eighth round, began six weeks ago with the aim of bringing the US back to compliance with the JCPOA.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday that the Vienna talks were heading in the right direction.
“The eighth round of Vienna talks is on the right path ... [and] achieving a good agreement is possible if the Western sides show serious determination,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
“Lifting sanctions means lifting all forms of sanctions stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the sanctions that Trump reimposed contradict the terms of the agreement,” he added.
The top diplomat noted that the most “practical model” for the removal of sanctions would be when it comes to Iran exporting oil and obtaining revenues through the country’s own banking system.
All sides see progress
On Friday, Ulyanov said that all sides had seen “some progress… towards an agreement on restoration of #JCPOA and #sanctions lifting”.
The Russian diplomat, however, noted that “persistent additional efforts” were needed to achieve a deal.
France's foreign minister also said on Friday progress had been made regarding the Vienna talks although time was running out.
"I remain convinced we can reach a deal. Bits of progress have been made in the last few days," Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV and RMC Radio, according to Reuters.
"We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence, because if we don't get an accord quickly, there will be nothing to negotiate."
Western diplomats have indicated they are hoping to have a breakthrough by the end of January or early February. Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.