Iran and the major world powers still party to a 2015 nuclear deal have started formal talks in Vienna, Austria, as attempts to bring the United States back to the landmark deal intensify.
Talks are underway at the imperial and grand hotels in the city between representatives from Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
For the first time since then US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, the United States is also in the same city in an attempt to save the ‘agreement.
But a US delegation led by Iranian Special Envoy Robert Malley is not in the same room where the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting is taking place, as Iran has said it will not negotiate directly with the United States. United until all the tough sanctions are imposed by Trump and still enforced by President Joe Biden is lifted.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would immediately reduce its uranium enrichment and deployment of advanced centrifuges after the country can verify that US sanctions have been lifted, but it is not “in no hurry” because he is also trying to “cancel” the sanctions by local production.
The Iranian delegation in Vienna, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, also consists of representatives from the country’s central bank, the oil ministry and the atomic energy organization, with sanctions mainly targeting the Iran’s financial sector and oil transfer.
According to Iran’s Foreign Ministry, the Vienna talks include “technical negotiations in the form of expert meetings” to understand how US sanctions can be lifted and how Iran can return to full compliance with the deal.
Herein lies the complexity of the talks, which could be prolonged if negotiators move forward, as layers of some 1,600 U.S. sanctions have targeted a number of multi-nominated Iranian individuals and entities – including those on “terrorism” and human rights violations.
Moreover, Iran has declared that it will not agree to a “step-by-step plan” under any circumstances and is only waiting for the United States to take the “last step” of lifting all sanctions.
The Iranian delegation landed in Vienna on Monday evening and held bilateral talks with its Chinese counterparts. Further bilateral discussions were held with representatives of Russia and European signatories to the JCPOA.
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Tuesday said the country welcomed recent comments by US Special Envoy Malley that Iran will have to reap the economic benefits promised under the JCPOA in the form of the lifting of sanctions.
“I cannot discuss further details but we look forward to the implementation of this constructive position and hope that at the end of the ongoing talks in Vienna we can achieve a clearer representation of the seriousness and the honesty in the implementation of commitments, ”he told one. press conference in Tehran.
Malley’s comments also dismayed senior officials in Israel, which strongly opposes the nuclear deal and any compromise with Iran, as they called the comments “very disturbing.”
Meanwhile, conservatives and extremists in Tehran, who also opposed the deal and were emboldened ahead of the June presidential elections – where moderate President Hassan Rouhani can no longer run – continue their claims by playing a role in negotiations.
At least two lawmakers have said Iran should require a minimum period of two months to verify the lifting of sanctions.
“If they have specific requests, such as the 3.67% [uranium] enrichment ceiling, we should have specific conditions, ”Tehran representative Ehsan Khandoozi tweeted.
He named these conditions as 2.3 million barrels of oil per day in exports, the release of billions of dollars of Iranian money frozen outside the country and $ 4 billion in international transactions per month.
On Sunday, a number of lawmakers signed a public statement that the implementation of any sanctions lifting agreement with the United States would have to be approved by parliament.