Nuclear talks experience progress despite disagreements on sanctions

After completing the first round of the negotiations, parties stated that some progress had been seen despite disagreement between the Iranian and the US officials on lifting sanctions.

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Aiming to bring Iran and the United States fully return back to the 2015 nuclear deal, the international conference, launched in the Austria’s capital Vienna, has experienced progress, the participants said on Friday. On the other hand, delegations stated that the disagreement between Tehran and Washington over lifting sanctions is still on the table.

During the first round of the talks, representatives from the EU, China, Russia paid shuttle diplomacy to bring Iran and the United States to the bargaining table which would discuss the ways to restore the 2015 nuclear accord. The 2015 agreement had failed due to the Trump administration unilaterally withdrawing from the agreement and reimposing sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran had given up on committing to the regulations determined under the agreement.

Iran has been stipulating that the US sanctions must be fully lifted without any condition to revive the nuclear accord. Sharing a message on social media, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says, “All Trump sanctions were anti-JCPOA and must be removed without distinction between arbitrary designations.” The United States, on the other hand, reiterated its readiness to lift “sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA.”

Yet, China’s envoy to the IAEA, Wang Qun, was optimistic regarding the outcomes of the negotiations saying, “All parties have narrowed down their differences, and we do see the momentum for gradually evolving a consensus.

After the first round of the talks, the delegations from Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia came together again in Vienna. Posting a message on Twitter after the meeting, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mikhail Ulyanov, sais, “The JCPOA participants took stock of the work done by experts over the last three days and noted with satisfaction the initial progress made.” The commission will meet next week to maintain the progress in the talks, the delegation said.

In the meeting, parties agreed to establish two expert-level working groups which would focus on drawing a list of sanctions that the US would lift and of nuclear restrictions that Iran would implement.

Additionally, the talks are expected to last for weeks. An experienced European diplomat stressed that due to the technical complexities regarding the nuclear aspects as well as the legal sophistication of lifting sanctions, negotiations might linger on for weeks. Yet, some representatives hope that the agreement can be reached before the Iranian presidential election, which will be held on June 18.

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