Positive start in Iran nuclear deal negotiations

Wednesday, 2021-12-01 08:39:55
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Representatives of Iran and major powers in the JCPOA at the meeting in Vienna, Austria, on November 29, 2021. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – The seventh round of talks between major powers and Iran on Tehran's nuclear programme has got off to a positive start. However, there are still many “thorny” issues that need to be resolved in relation to the lifting of US sanctions against Iran as well as Iran’s full compliance with its commitments in the 2015 agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

After 5 months of interrupted dialogues, a new round of negotiations between Iran and the remaining powers in the JCPOA (including the UK, China, France, Russia, and Germany) has recently resumed in Vienna, Austria.

With the indirect participation of the US, this round of negotiations seeks to bring Washington back into the JCPOA and ensure Iran's full implementation of its commitments in the agreement. The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the International Organisations in Vienna said that the brief preparatory talks were “successful”.

The parties agreed on the immediate next steps. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator also expressed optimism about the first meetings, with the sides agreeing that the agenda will focus on lifting sanctions on Tehran.

One of the thorniest issues that the parties need to overcome is Iran’s demand for sanction relief before Tehran fully implements its commitments. Iran insisted that sanctions must be lifted, the rights and interests of the Iranian people must be guaranteed at the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the US and its European allies remain sceptical about Iran's compliance with its commitments. Right on the eve of the negotiations, tensions between the US and Iran escalated over Tehran’s uranium enrichment activities, while Washington continued to pose sanctions against Iran.

Iran’s refusal to make concessions regarding its nuclear programme caused the recent visit to Tehran by the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be unsatisfactory. The IAEA has been unable to reach agreement with Iran on key issues, including restoring its access to a nuclear facility.

Faced with Tehran’s tough attitude, the US special envoy for Iran stressed that Washington and its partners will put pressure on Iran if the Islamic Republic uses negotiations as an excuse to promote its nuclear programme.

Tensions between the US and Iran and irreconcilable disagreements between the two sides make it difficult for negotiations to achieve a breakthrough on Iran's “nuclear record”.

However, the seventh round of negotiations is expected to achieve the necessary steps, acting as a smooth start, as well as creating a favourable atmosphere for the next steps to “revive” the Iran nuclear deal, an important factor contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the region.