Russia’s Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov says his team had a “very useful” discussion with the US side in Vienna on the full restoration of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
In a tweet on Thursday, Ulyanov said the Russian and American teams had a “detailed and very useful discussion on major topics, which are under consideration in the course of ongoing talks in Vienna” with the aim of reviving the US-abandoned deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US, under former President Donald Trump, exited the JCPOA in 2018 and began to put enormous pressure on Tehran by imposing heavy economic sanctions.
The Vienna talks, which began early this month, aim at bringing the US and other signatories to the deal into full compliance with the deal.
Ulyanov said via Twitter on Wednesday that the two working groups formed within the JCPOA Joint Commission format earlier this month continued considerations of measures to be taken by Washington and Tehran in order to restore the deal.
He added that the third working group on practical arrangements for the implementation of the agreement met earlier in the day for the first time.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy spokesman Peter Stano said diplomacy is underway at the highest level to revive the JCPOA.
“Diplomatic efforts are underway at various levels between the members of the JCPOA, between us as coordinators and other participants in this agreement, as well as with the American side. But since we are in the middle of this very sensitive diplomatic process, I cannot discuss the details,” IRNA quoted Stano as saying.
Top Iranian official: ‘Very good steps’ taken in Vienna
Iranian president’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said earlier in the day that “very good steps” have been taken so far in the Vienna talks, noting that President Hassan Rouhani’s administration is neither in a rush nor will it lose opportunities provided through the negotiations.
Describing the talks as complex, Vaezi said, “But given its complexities, what has been done until today is promising.”
He also said the hardliners in the US and the Israeli regime are trying to turn the negotiations into a failure, with certain regional countries also pursuing the same goal.
“We pursue what is in the interests of the country in accordance with the principles and framework set by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution,” Vaezi stressed.
Biden seeking to remove toughest sanctions: AP
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration is considering the removal of some of the most stringent sanctions imposed on Iran so that Tehran would return to its nuclear undertakings under the JCPOA.
Back in May 2019, in response to Washington’s antagonistic Iran policy, Tehran began to gradually reduce its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA but repeatedly voiced readiness to reverse its measures only after the US returns to its obligations.
Citing US officials, the AP said Washington is open to lifting any sanctions that are inconsistent with the nuclear pact or those that deny Iran the relief it would be entitled to under the deal.
The sanctions relief could include non-nuclear sanctions that were imposed by the Trump administration with the aim of inhibiting a US return to the JCPOA, the AP added.
Iran driving hard line on sanctions removal
Meanwhile, Iran has been driving a hard line on the removal of the sanctions, demanding that all US sanctions that were imposed, reimposed or relabeled against the Islamic Republic must be removed in a verifiable manner – only after which Tehran would scale back its nuclear program to fully comply with its JCPOA obligations.
Speaking with Press TV on Tuesday, Iran’s top negotiator Abbas Araqchi maintained that in order for the JCPOA to get back on track, the US needs to remove all the sanctions imposed on the country after the nuclear agreement went into force.
Araqchi explained that all the sanctions that the Trump and Barack Obama administrations imposed on Iran following the implementation of the JCPOA in early 2016 must be terminated before the United States can return to the agreement.
“The United States must first lift all sanctions, and Iran will return to its obligations only after verifying the lifting of the US sanctions,” the top diplomat added.