The European Union and Iran confirmed the start of the sixth round of Vienna negotiations on the Iranian nuclear deal today, Saturday, amid Iranian optimism to finalize Washington’s return to the agreement.
The union announced – in a statement – that the participants in this tour will continue their discussions – which have been ongoing since the beginning of last April – with the aim of the United States returning to the agreement signed with Iran in 2015, and that all parties comply with their obligations.
For his part, the Russian delegate to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that no one knows if this round will be the last, but all negotiators hope so.
But Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said – in a speech he delivered on Friday in Geneva during the arms control conference – that the Vienna negotiations are in their final stages, and that the parties need to redouble efforts to return to the nuclear agreement.
Wang added that what he described as unilateral acts of bullying on the part of the United States is the root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that the Vienna talks on the Iran nuclear deal are being finalized.
He added that his country has failed the economic sanctions once and will fail them again, and that the United States has returned to the dialogue table, and it has no choice but to lift the sanctions, as he put it.
In this context, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Friday in a post on Telegram, “The participants are expected to continue consultations on the possibility of the United States returning to the nuclear agreement, and to ensure the full and effective implementation of this agreement.”
Araqchi, who is the chief Iranian negotiator, said on Thursday that it was too early to speculate whether this was the final round. The Iranian official stressed that the remaining points of contention are related to how all parties can return to the agreement.
There is talk in Vienna about the start of drafting an agreement that might pave the way for a settlement leading to reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement, from which the United States withdrew in 2018 by a decision of former President Donald Trump, while Iran reduced its commitments, especially by raising the level of uranium enrichment, in response to No lifting of penalties.
On the other hand, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the US move to lift sanctions against 3 former Iranian officials is not a sign of goodwill.
On Thursday, the United States said it had lifted sanctions imposed on 3 former Iranian officials and two companies that were trading in Iranian petrochemicals, a move that a US official described as routine, but it may show the United States’ willingness to ease sanctions when justified.
Yesterday, Thursday, Price confirmed the decision to lift sanctions against these officials, including the former head of the National Iranian Oil Company, Ahmad Qalibani.
Price described the decision as “technical”, and explained that it came after a change in the behavior or status of those subject to these sanctions, saying that Washington would continue to use all available means to restrict Iran’s support for what he described as proxies and terrorist groups.
For its part, the US Treasury said that this step showed the US government’s commitment to lifting sanctions in the event of a change.