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Progress observed in nuclear talks as Biden administration signals to ease sanctions

Sanctions on several economic sectors that are crucial for the Iranian economy are being evaluated to be released, the sources familiar with the matter said.

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On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration is considering easing some sanctions against Iran to reach an agreement in nuclear talks currently being held in Vienna. According to statements of sources familiar with the issue, the sanctions that are being evaluated to ease are the ones on critical elements of Iran’s economy, particularly oil and finance.

The sources also said that the Biden administration leans on lifting sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran. Additionally, sanctions on national oil and tanker companies as well as sectors like steel and aluminum are the ones that the Biden administration signaled to lift from its sanctions list. Moreover, a senior European official stated that textiles, autos, shipping, and insurance are other fields that the US plans to lift sanctions from.

Even though the Biden administration is evaluating to take such a step, they reserve the right to reimpose some of these sanctions against Iran in case of Tehran’s support for militant groups and allegedly if its nuclear missile program continues, the officials added.

While developments are ongoing in this way on the US side, the Iranian officials are making statements confirming the reports regarding the US intention. On Wednesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that the United States seems serious about lifting sanctions. However, the Iranian top official requested the United States to be more specific.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh also affirmed some progress had been achieved in the nuclear talks in Vienna. Speaking to reporters, Khatibzadeh said that “We are moving on the right track and some progress has been made, but we have not reached the final stage yet.”

One of the progress that Iran would like to see is revoking the US “foreign terrorist organization” designation against the Iranian elite military forces, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. However, the officials said that such a move does not seem possible right now.

Although some progress has been observed in the negotiations, officials expect that the negotiations for reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement would be tough and the progress would be fragile. The internal politics in Washington and the insisting of Tehran on refusing to hold direct talks with the US are the main factors that complicate the process, the sources added.

The second round of the negotiations has been completed after five-days talks in Vienna and delegations returned home. It was announced that the negotiations would resume next week.

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