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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Iran nuclear deal: ‘Indisputable’ progress made at ongoing Vienna talks

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Iran expects to export up to 2.5 million barrels per [b/d] day of crude if US sanctions are lifted.

Russia’s top representative at the ongoing Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov said meetings have witnessed “indisputable” progress amid efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

However, the Russian official said it is still “too early” to predict when the restoration of the JCPOA will begin.

It’s too early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism. There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately 3 weeks. Is it realistic? We will see,” he added.

Vienna talks kicked off last month in efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal after former US President Donald withdrew from the accord in 2018. If the JCPOA is restored, the US will lift all sanctions on Iran.

Read also: Vienna talks progress ‘from words to drafting goals’ stage

On Saturday, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said Tehran expects US sanctions on oil, banks and most individuals and institutions to be lifted based on agreements reached so far in Vienna talks.

“Sanctions … on Iran’s energy sector, which include oil and gas, or those on the automotive industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, all should be lifted based on agreements reached so far,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by Iranian state media, without adding further details on how or when the sanctions would be nullified.

“We will negotiate until the two sides’ positions come closer and our demands are met,” he said. “If they are met there will be an agreement, if not there will naturally be no agreement.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan also said his country has been witnessing positive attitudes from all sides to ensure the revival of the deal.

“We’ve seen willingness of all sides, including the Iranians, to talk seriously about sanctions relief restrictions and a pathway back into the JCPOA,” Sullivan said, adding that it is still uncertain whether this will lead to reaching a deal in Vienna.

Officials hope to reach a deal by May 21st, the deadline of an agreement between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog on monitoring some of its nuclear activities.

“We have yet to come to an understanding on the most critical points. Success is by no means guaranteed, but not impossible,” they added.

The indirect meetings between the US and Iran are attended by members of the deal—China, France, Russia, and the UK. Despite ongoing challenges that posed a threat to the negotiations, namely the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility, talks appear to be moving forward.

The US and Iran have agreed on the formation of two working groups to ensure compliance in the accord – one to oversee the lifting of sanctions on Tehran and another to monitor its limitation of nuclear activity.

Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters that the indirect talks will reconvene on Friday.


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