Some daylight seen in US and Iran nuclear deadlock

Officials from the US and Iran will not meet directly during the discussions aimed at salvaging the nuclear deal.

A man signs a document.
Iran has demanded that the US lift all sanctions and return unilaterally to the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that sought to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Picture: Matthias Zomer/Pexels

CAPE TOWN, April 3 (ANA) – The Iran nuclear deal representatives and the US government will meet next week for the first time as the Biden administration attempts to salvage the agreement.

After secret diplomatic talks in Frankfurt this week, a possible breakthrough in the seemingly deadlocked attempts to get the US back into Iran’s nuclear deal is on the horizon, reported the Guardian.

Iran’s representatives and the US will meet in Vienna next week, a senior administration official told CNN. Senior officials from Iran, the UK, Germany, France, China, Russia, the US and the EU will be in the same city.

Officials from the United States and Iran will not meet directly, but the US will work through the other countries that are signatories to the nuclear deal.

Iran has demanded that the US lift all sanctions and return unilaterally to the 2015 agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that sought to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Washington withdrew from the nuclear accord in 2018, prompting retaliatory steps by Iran.

According to the Biden administration, the talks in Vienna will centre on identifying actions that both the US and Iran will need to take in order to return to compliance with the deal, including the US lifting sanctions, wrote CNN.

One option will be for the US to relinquish its veto over the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending to Iran, wrote the Guardian.

“We expect the International Monetary Fund to respond to Iran’s legal request as soon as possible, without discrimination or intrusion or pressure from the United States,” governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati said.

Another option would be for Washington to authorise banks in South Korea and elsewhere to unlock up to US$7 billion in frozen Iranian assets.

Both methods would be relatively simple for the US to implement and would not require congressional approval, according to the Guardian.

The US team expects to meet with officials from other countries who have signed the agreement, according to a senior administration official.

“Participants will discuss the possible return of the US to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides,” the statement said.

The EU said that the joint commission would be chaired by EU Foreign Service Political director Enrique Mora on behalf of EU high representative Josep Borrell.

According to the Guardian, the joint commission, which comprises China, Russia and European states as well as the EU, meets regularly, but analysts say the timing of the announcement signals promising developments.

“I very much hope that the anti-Iranian inertia that was observed at first will give way to common sense,” Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said.

Some analysts believe Biden is unaware of the importance of making progress ahead of Iran’s presidential elections in June, when hard-liners opposed to the deal’s principles are expected to win in a low-turnout race, reported the Guardian.

The in-person meeting would almost certainly be at a higher level, and Iran will almost certainly oppose any talk of modifying or adding to the agreement.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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