Iran, P4+1 countries resume Vienna talks after three-day pause
Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 Iran deal have resumed the eighth round of talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year.
Representatives of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- began the eighth round of the Vienna talks on December 27 focused on the removal of all sanctions imposed on Tehran after Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the agreement. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.
According to Iran’s official IRNA news agency, Iran's chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrived in Vienna earlier on Monday and held a meeting with Enrique Mora, European Union's deputy foreign policy chief and head of the Joint Commission of the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Bagheri Kani, who serves as Iran's deputy foreign minister for international affairs, also held talks with senior officials of other participating countries.
Earlier in the day, the Russian ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a tweet that the eighth round of talks would resume in the "form of informal meetings."
Speaking to reporters on Thursday before leaving Vienna for Tehran, the top Iranian negotiator said during the eighth round of negotiations good progress was made with regard to the removal of sanctions and subsequent verification of sanctions removal.
Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA resumed the talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month hiatus.
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries sat down for talks in the Austrian capital on December 9 following a pause on December 3, when the participants returned to their capitals for additional consultations on the two draft proposals that Tehran had put forward.
One year after Washington’s exit from the deal and the failure of the European signatories to uphold their commitments under pressure from the US, Iran took a set of retaliatory steps away from the deal in several stages in line with its legal contractual rights.
With a new administration on office in the US, Washington says it wants to rejoin the deal, but it has been dragging its feet in removing the sanctions on Iran.
Tehran has been firmly insisting that the US must first remove the sanctions in a verifiable manner, give guarantees that it will not leave the agreement again, and compensate for all the damages inflicted on Iran due to its unlawful pullout.