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Talks in Vienna on nuclear deal resume after five-month break

Talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, between Iran and world powers on the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal kicked off following a five-month break.

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On Monday, talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers on the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal kicked off following a five-month break. Iranian, Chinese, French, German, Russian, and British diplomats convened in the Austrian capital amid dim expectations for an agreement.

As the Iranian side again refused to hold direct talks with the US since Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), messages will be communicated to US diplomats through European diplomats.

In what he labelled a “serious will,” Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, underlined the lifting of US sanctions during the new round of Vienna talks, according to Iranian media outlets.

The Iranian negotiator added that this round of talks will focus on the removal of sanctions. As a result, a specified time could not be predicted for the seventh round of negotiations in Vienna. Furthermore, he pointed out the meeting will dwell on discussing the outlook of this round of talks and that a timetable for future talks will be announced later.

On Sunday, several informal rounds of talks, including a trilateral meeting between Iran, China, and Russia, and another between Iran’s chief negotiator and the EU representative Enrique Mora, were held to set up the main negotiations.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the EU.

Tehran pledged to limit its nuclear activities to civilian purposes under the agreement. In return, world powers agreed to drop their economic sanctions against Iran. Though, under then-President Donald Trump, the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. This resulted in Tehran stopping to comply with the nuclear deal.

While the US is calling for Iran to comply with its commitments in the JCPOA, Iran demands the removal of all US sanctions and asks for guarantees from Washington that it will not abandon the agreement again, thus illustrating the tough positions taken by both Tehran and Washington.

Kani, who is also Iran’s deputy foreign minister, visited London, Paris, and Berlin earlier this month to resolve the nuclear impasse.

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