The powers involved that are negotiating to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement met in Vienna when the Persian nation has a new government that will be led by the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi and the United States still has reservations on some key points of the agreement.
Iran and the world powers that are part of the 2015 nuclear agreement (China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom) held a meeting this Sunday in Vienna, the capital of Austria, to discuss the reestablishment of the agreement broken since 2018, when the Former US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from it.
The negotiations are part of the sixth round of talks, which began on June 12 with the aim of reaching the necessary agreements for both Iran and the United States to resume their commitments on nuclear activities and sanctions, although the main step is get Washington back to the deal.
“Bridging the gap requires decisions that mainly the other party (Washington) has to make. I hope that in the next round we will travel this short distance, even if it is difficult,” said Iran’s main negotiator and deputy foreign minister, Abás Araqchí, after the meeting, announcing a new pause for delegations to return to their capitals for further consultations.
“An agreement to reestablish the nuclear pact is within our reach, but has not yet been concluded,” Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov wrote on Twitter.
The United States, for its part, does not have a representative at the Vienna table, although a US delegation participates in the indirect talks with Iran.
The 2015 nuclear pact, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA), established limits and restrictions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program – which the West has always accused without evidence of developing atomic bombs – in exchange for Tehran obtained economic advantages that supposed the lifting of some sanctions.
However, the departure of the United States in 2018 and the imposition of more aggressive sanctions on Iran that, among other repercussions, caused drastic damage to the economy of the Persian nation, also ignited relations between the two countries, when Tehran also responded by violating the pact.
However, the administration of the current US president, Joe Biden, has shown its intention to rejoin the agreement, albeit under some terms, which could mean a relaxation of sanctions.
At the moment, there still appear to be some points of disagreement that need to be addressed in detail, as assured by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan when referring to the talks in Vienna.
Iran says “good progress” has been made
Iran’s top negotiator, Araqchí, said after the round of talks that “good progress” had been made and that they were “closer than ever” to reaching an agreement.
“Today is the last day of this sixth round of negotiations. We have been through intense days and very hard work and now we are in a situation where almost all the documents of the agreement are ready,” he told Iranian state television.
“Of the main issues that continue to be disputed, some have been resolved and others remain, but they have taken a very precise form and it is quite clear what the dimensions of these disputes are,” he added, hopeful that delegations will be able to return to their respective capitals to make inquiries, but above all to make a final decision.
Araqchí also considered that it is the other party (the United States) who must now make “its final decision.”
It was the first official meeting since the head of Iran’s hardline judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, won the presidential election on Friday, when he won a landslide victory.
Although Raisi, for many mediators at the Vienna table, represents a threat to the progress of the negotiations, the ultra-conservative leader, like the other candidates in the electoral race, has supported the nuclear talks as a way to reverse the sanctions of United States for the impact they have had on the country.
On the other hand, the Raisi government is unlikely to disrupt the deal under the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who ultimately has the final say on all major policies.
The United States still has some disagreements in the nuclear talks with Iran
While the Persian nation showed a slightly more hopeful spirit around the negotiations, the United States still contemplates some disagreements that must be analyzed in order to move forward on the return of both parties to the 2015 nuclear deal.
“There is still a long way to go on some of the key issues, including sanctions and nuclear commitments that Iran must make,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday in an interview with ABC News.
“We will see if the Iranian negotiators come to the next round of talks prepared to make the tough decisions they have to make,” he added, stating that the question of which sanctions on Iran are to be lifted is still under discussion.
With AP, Reuters and EFE