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Monday, January 24, 2022

Iran says ‘significant progress’ made at Vienna talks


This week witnessed the fifth round of indirect talks between the US and Iran, aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran announced “significant progress” at the ongoing Vienna nuclear talks where six world powers involved in the accord are negotiating for a US return to the deal.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh comments on Monday echoed previous positive statements on the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

“Each round of talks in Vienna could have been the final round. We should not rush. We have made significant progress but key issues remain,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference on Monday.

Khatibzadeh also assured that the talks, which entered their fifth round this week, have witnessed “no stalemate”.

“All sanctions should be lifted and then it should be verified by Iran…then we will reverse our nuclear steps,” Khatibzadeh added.

According to Reuters, a regional diplomat also revealed “an agreement that would clarify the obligations of Tehran and Washington to move forward” will be announced in Vienna this week.

The latest statements come following a report by Axios released earlier this week, suggesting a possible agreement between the US and Iran to revive the JCPOA.

However, a US official told Axios that while a deal is achievable within months, it will still require more compliance from Iran regarding its nuclear activity.

The latest positive comments came following the fifth round of Vienna talks which kicked off in April with hopes to restore the 2015 nuclear accord following Washington’s 2018 withdrawal under the Donald Trump Administration.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s top representative at the Vienna talks, tweeted on Monday that there are currently no plans for a sixth round of talks.

“The negotiators proceed from the understanding that the current round should be final,” he said.

Read also: US-Iran ‘likely’ to reach an agreement over JCPOA revival: Axios

Washington officials also told Axios that last week’s round of indirect US-Iran nuclear talks was the first in which progress was made in terms of sanctions relief and nuclear measures.

The US reportedly witnessed more flexibility from Iran’s side in the fourth round of talks, most notably through its decision to extend the nuclear inspections agreement with the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], for another month following its expiry.

Representatives from the countries involved in the nuclear deal– China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany—have been holding talks in Vienna in effort to reach a mutual US-Iran agreement.

Apart from the P5+1, Qatar has also offered to mediate between the US and Iran, saying it will “spare no efforts” to ensure that the JCPOA is restored.

Iran’s economy is expected to be revived if sanctions are lifted.

The Islamic republic says it expects to export up to 2.5 million barrels per day [b/d] of crude oil.

“Oil sales have dropped much. But the conditions are better now and we are more in control of the situation,” said Iran’s Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri earlier this month, as quoted by oil ministry news service Shana.

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