VIENNA (AP) – Officials from five world powers began a new effort on Tuesday to try to bring the United States back into the establishment of the 2015 nuclear deal they signed with Iran, a delicate diplomatic dance it needs. Balancing worries and interests of both Washington and Tehran
A meeting in Vienna of envoys from Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran is scheduled for the US to initiate indirect talks with Iran. It will be the first sign of concrete progress in an effort to return the two nations back to a deal that restricts Iran’s nuclear program to ease US and international sanctions.
After the closing meeting of the signers, known as the Comprehensive Action Plan, Russia̵7;s representative, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that the talks were the first. “Successful”
“The restoration of the JCPOA will not happen immediately. How long will it take? Nobody knows, ”he wrote.“ The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is to start working towards this goal. ”
In 2018, President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the United States out of the deal, opting for what he called a top-pressure campaign involving revitalized and additional American sanctions.
Since then, Iran has continued to violate restrictions on the deal, such as the hoardable uranium content and the purity it can add. Tehran’s move was calculated to pressure other nations on the deal to do more to compensate for crippling U.S. sanctions under Trump.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who served as vice president under Barack Obama when the original deal was negotiated, said he wanted to bring the United States back into the JCPOA, but Iran had to dismiss the breach.
Iran said the United States had violated the previous deal by withdrawing, so Washington must take the first step by lifting the sanctions.
After a meeting in Vienna, Iranian state television cited Iranian negotiator Abbas Araki as reiterating the message during the opening of the negotiations.
“Lifting the US sanctions is the first and most necessary action for the renewal of the deal,” Araghchi said. Cancel the sanctions that have been audited
At the meeting, the participants agreed to form two groups of experts, one to lift sanctions and the other on nuclear issues, which “were tasked with identifying concrete measures that Washington and Tehran would take to revitalize operations. The full-scale action of the JCPOA, ”Ulyanov tweeted.
They have to start work immediately and report their conclusions to the master negotiator.
The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists on not wanting to do. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make bombs. But nowhere is this close to the number it had before the nuclear deal was signed.
In the latest announced breach, Iran’s Civil Nuclear Program spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said officials had begun mechanical testing of the IR-9 prototype centrifuge. Allowed under the agreement, he said, according to the ISNA semi-official news agency.
The clock is ticking in an attempt to bring the United States back into the deal, aiming to bring Iran back into compliance with a range of issues to consider.
In late February, Iran began restricting international checks on nuclear plants. But under a last-minute deal made during a trip to Tehran by Raphael Grossi, head of the United Nations Atomic Watch in Vienna, some access was reserved.
Under the deal, Iran will no longer share surveillance footage of its nuclear plant with the IAEA, but promised to keep the tapes for three months. It is then handed over to the IAEA if sanctions are eased. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to remove the record and reduce the window for diplomatic development.
Iran’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif in March also urged the United States to act swiftly, noting that with his country’s June elections, Washington will find itself dealing with a government that cannot be black. Able to carry out nuclear negotiations
Additionally, one of the JCPOA’s so-called major sunset sentences is the UN arms ban on Iran, which expired last year and others, expiring in the next few years.
A small window for negotiations will allow the United States to try to bring new concerns into the deal, such as Iran’s regional influence and missile programs.
Although not involved in the JCPOA negotiations, a US delegation led by Iranian administration’s special envoy Rob Malley is also in the Austrian capital.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the delegation was there to hold structured talks on a European-organized working group.
Price said Monday the talks were “Going forward in a healthy way,” but added, “We do not expect early or immediate development, as we fully expect it to be difficult.”
“We don’t expect direct negotiations with Iran at present,” he said, “although we remain open to them. So we have to see how things are. ”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday the presence of U.S. diplomats was in Vienna, although they had not spoken directly with Iran.
“I think it’s important to inform our partners … that we believe diplomacy is the best step,” Psaki said.
Zarif on Friday reiterated Iran’s stance that further negotiations on the JCPOA were not needed as agreements and parameters had already been negotiated.
“No Iran-US meeting is not necessary,” he tweeted.
The Joint Commission JCPOA is expected to meet again on Friday and in the meantime, EU official Enrique Mora, who chaired the talks, said he would be in touch with all parties individually.
“As a coordinator, I will be separating my dealings here in Vienna with all parties involved intensely, including the United States,” he tweeted.
Asked by UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric about Secretary Antonio Guterres’ reaction to the meeting, “We welcome all these efforts by the JCPOA participants … We hope this is the first step in the right direction.”
Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Edith M. Lederer of the United Nations and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran.