Nuclear: “A new chapter” has opened in Vienna, says Iran

Nuclear: “A new chapter” has opened in Vienna, says Iran
Nuclear: “A new chapter” has opened in Vienna, says Iran

Posted8 avril 2021, 01:21

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that “a new chapter” had opened with the Vienna talks between Tehran and the international community to try to save the Iran nuclear deal.

Hassan Rohani on April 7, 2021.

AFP

This agreement, concluded in the Austrian capital in 2015, has been moribund since the United States left it in 2018 under the presidency of Donald Trump. In response to this withdrawal, which was followed by an avalanche of US economic and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Iran broke away from most of the key commitments it made in 2015.

President Joe Biden has said he is ready to reverse his predecessor’s decision, but differences of opinion persist between Washington and Tehran on the conditions under which this could be done.

Discussions that began in Vienna on Tuesday are aimed at finding a way to bring the United States back into the deal and bring Tehran back to strict application of the text.

Tehran refusing any direct meeting with Washington, these talks are taking place on the one hand between the states still party to the agreement (Iran and the 4 + 1 countries: China, France, Great Britain, Russia and Germany, as well as that the EU, guarantor of the agreement), and on the other side between Europeans and Americans.

“A new chapter has just opened yesterday”, declared Wednesday Hassan Rouhani during a speech in the Council of Ministers. “If (Washington) shows seriousness and honesty – that’s all we ask (…) – I think that we can negotiate in a short time, if necessary, with the 4 + 1”, added the Iranian president. According to him, “the United States can fulfill (its obligations) without negotiations”.

“A constructive forum”

Iran calls for the lifting of all sanctions against it and refuses to meet with American diplomats as long as these sanctions remain in force. EU negotiators therefore act as intermediaries between Iran and the United States.

Washington, however, considers the Vienna talks “a constructive forum,” the US State Department said on Wednesday. “The discussions so far have been professional and they produce what we thought they would produce,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters.

“They provide us with a better understanding of Iran’s state of mind and we believe that, conversely, Tehran will leave this session of talks with a better understanding of what we are prepared to do,” Ned Price said.

On the Iran side, the EU and 4 + 1, two groups of experts – one on sanctions, the other on the nuclear program – started working on Tuesday in order to define a roadmap. The process can last “15 days, a month, we do not know”, according to a European diplomat interviewed by AFP. Tuesday evening, Iran and the United States each judged that the discussions of the first day had been “fruitful”.

(AFP)

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