EU alleges ‘progress’ in Vienna talks, but says ‘issues remain’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows underway talks in Vienna concerning the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries. (Photo by IRNA)

The European Union, which coordinated the talks leading to conclusion of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world countries, claims it is hopeful about underway talks that seek to remedy the US’s sabotage against the deal.

“We are making progress,” EU representative Alain Matton told reporters in Vienna.

The talks started in the Austrian capital in April to potentially revive the accord that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The US left the deal illegally and unilaterally in 2018, returning the sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

“But the negotiations are intense and a number of issues [remain], including on how steps are to be implemented,” Matton acknowledged.

His remarks were echoed by China’s envoy to the United Nations in Vienna, Wang Qun, who said, “To a great extent, the major issues have been worked out as a matter of principle, though I think there are some fixes [left].”

Iran has roundly rejected the notion of any phased-out removal of the sanctions on the part of the US, saying Washington has to eliminate all of the measures in one go in a way that can be verifiable by Tehran.

It is only then, the Islamic Republic insists, that the country would reverse a set of remedial nuclear measures that it has been implementing since 2019 in return for the US and others’ non-commitment to the deal.

By deploying the sanctions, the US has broken the international law since the United Nations Security Council has endorsed the JCPOA in the form of its Resolution 2231. The coercive measures are also at odds with even the most basic principles of the human rights due to their preventing Iran from obtaining food and medicine.

Iran’s countermeasures, however, fit well within the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36 that entitle the country to carry out the reprisal.

“The EU will continue with the talks with all the participants...and separately with the United States to find ways to get very close to a final agreement in the coming days,” the European official said.

Iran has cast doubt on the US’s willingness to cooperate with efforts that seek to restore the JCPOA. The country cites Washington’s refusal so far to lift the sanctions.

This, Iranian officials say, signals the US’s continued subscription to former US president Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy, under which Washington left the deal and returned the sanctions.

The Chinese official also urged the US to adopt a decisive approach towards the issues that stand to resolve the residual problems. “Our message to them (the United States) is that they should stop shilly-shallying by moving decisively to sanction-lifting.”

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