Iran, Russia envoys discuss resumption of talks in Vienna on nuclear deal

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)
Russian Ambassador to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov (R) and his Iranian counterpart Kazem Gharibabadi meet on August 17, 2021.

Senior diplomats from Iran and Russia have exchanged views about the resumption of talks in Vienna, Austria, on a potential revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was suspended amid a power transition in the Islamic Republic following the June presidential election.

In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Russian Ambassador to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said he met with his Iranian counterpart Kazem Gharibabadi.

He said the two sides discussed a restart of the talks on the revival of the Iran deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Action (JCPOA), which has been in crisis since the US’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018, as well as issues on the agenda of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the body tasked with monitoring the technical aspects of the agreement’s implementation.

The JCPOA was reached between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in 2015. However, the deal was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 in spite of Iran’s full compliance with its contractual obligations.

Since April, the remaining signatories to the JCPOA have been holding face-to-face talks in the Austrian capital aimed at bringing the US back to compliance and putting the deal back on track.

So far, six rounds of negotiations have been held in Vienna, as a result of which, according to participants, “significant progress” has been made in the course of the “constructive” and “businesslike” talks.

However, disagreements have persisted over a number of issues, including how to sequence the US sanctions removal, with Tehran arguing that since Washington was the party that violated the terms of the agreement, it should take the first step back into compliance with the deal by removing its unilateral sanctions.

Following the last round of the Vienna talks, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said the next session must wait until newly-elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi takes over in early August.

The Russian lead negotiator said on August 9 that the next round of Vienna talks would possibly begin “in a few weeks” and “as soon as the Iranian side gets prepared.”

On the same day, Raeisi held a phone conversation with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that the rights of the Iranian nation must be guaranteed in any negotiations and its interests must be met.


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