Parties to the 2015 nuclear deal returned to the Austrian capital of Vienna to resume the negotiations after consulting with their governments. The eighth round of talks kicked off on Tuesday.
Delegations from Germany, the UK, France, Russia, China, and Iran participated in the debate that EU representative Enrique Mora chaired.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister and head of the negotiation team, Ali Bagheri Kani, also held a separate meeting with Enrique Mora.
A day before starting the eighth round of talks, the EU’s diplomatic service issued a statement on Monday, saying that “Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides.”
Prior to the latest discussion, the US reinstated exemptions on Friday, which enabled international cooperation with Iran on nuclear projects. The US move revived hopes of bringing a solution to the disagreement.
In January, some top-level EU officials, including EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, made statements hinting that the parties were close to finalizing an agreement.
However, US officials have insistently warned that restoring the JCPOA might be impossible as long as Iran maintains its nuclear advancement. A senior State Department official stated that Iran’s nuclear capabilities could go beyond the limits imposed under the JCPOA, creating an “extremely dangerous” situation for the Middle East and the world, unless progress was made.
Iran, on the other hand, has refused the US allegations and has pledged not to seek uranium grade-level enrichment above 60 percent.
The Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the JCPOA, was signed on July 14, 2015, by Iran and the P5+1 nations and ratified by the UN on July 29, 2015. These countries include China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the US.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions against Tehran, which were lifted by the deal.