Intensive work on JCPOA revival underway in Vienna: Russia lead negotiator
A senior Russian diplomat in Vienna says "intensive work" is underway between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries in the Austrian capital on ways to revive the 2015 multilateral agreement.
"All three working groups (on #sanctions lifting, nuclear issues and implementation/sequencing) are to meet today to address the remaining outstanding issues," Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a post on his Twitter account on Friday.
Envoys from Iran and the five remaining signatories to the deal -- Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany -- have been holding negotiations in the Austrian capital for 10 months with the aim of reviving the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), through bringing the US back to the deal.
The two sides have bridged some gaps since the talks began last year but differences remain, especially on the issue of US sanctions. Tehran wants all sanctions imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump removed and says the issue is its red line.
In an earlier tweet, Ulyanov, who is the head of the Russian negotiating team in Vienna, said he held a "very useful" meeting with the US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley.
"We are definitely moving ahead at the #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA," the senior Russian diplomat said.
Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.
In May 2019, following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by the other side.
The administration of US President Joe Biden says it is willing to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.