Cautious optimism ahead of nuclear talks in Vienna

Cautious optimism ahead of nuclear talks in Vienna
Cautious optimism ahead of nuclear talks in Vienna
The countries that signed the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015 will meet today in the Austrian capital. U.S. envoys are also in place, despite President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the 2018 deal.

The other signature countries – Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China – protested against Trump’s decision and called for the agreement, and now the United States may also be on its way back.

Not face to face

The signals from President Joe Biden have been clear, but the two countries’ envoys will not sit face to face with the Iranians for the time being and emphasize that there is no question of negotiations in the first place.

– We will not talk directly to the Americans in Vienna, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi emphasized this weekend.

The US delegation will sit on its own, and EU representatives will run back and forth and act as messengers.

The participants will discuss the prospects for a possible re-entry from the US into the nuclear agreement and how to ensure full and effective implementation of the agreement for all parties, it was said in a statement from the EU last week.

Hardly a breakthrough

– It is still early in the process, and we do not envisage an immediate breakthrough since there will be tough discussions in the future. But we believe this is a positive step, a spokesman for the US State Department said before the weekend.

The year after Trump withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal, the Iranians announced that they too would disregard certain points in the agreement.

Since then, the country has stepped up its uranium enrichment, but still assures that it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian claim

The Iranian government demands that the United States lift the strict sanctions imposed by Trump, before they themselves will fully comply with the agreement again, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Said Khatibzadeh, told state Press TV this weekend.

Araghchi stressed the same.

“The United States must return to the agreement and stop breaking the law in the same way as when it withdrew from the agreement and imposed illegal sanctions against Iran,” he said.

The United States, for its part, demands that Iran fully comply with the agreement before new negotiations can take place.

Important sign

Although the fronts are steep, Ali Vaez of the think tank International Crisis Group believes that the Vienna meeting is “an important sign that both the United States and Iran are serious” and wants an end to the ice front that prevailed under Trump.

The US special envoy to Iran, Rob Malley, opened this weekend that the US may be willing to “lift the sanctions that are not in line with the agreement”.

– If both parties are realistic and realize what needs to be done, then we can succeed, he told PBS.

“But if both parties take maximalist positions and say that the other party must do everything before they move an inch, then it is difficult to imagine that this will succeed,” said Malley.

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