France calls on Iran to be 'constructive' at nuclear talks in Vienna

Brenda Watkins
April 3, 2021

World powers and Iran will meet by videoconference Friday (2 April) to discuss the possible return of the United States to the Iran nuclear deal, in talks mediated by the EU.

He cautioned that "these remain early days, and we don't anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be hard discussions ahead".

Price said the talks would be structured around working groups the European Union is going to form with the remaining participants in the nuclear agreement, including Iran.

Iranian news agencies quoted Abbas Aragchi, the country's deputy foreign minister, who attended the online meeting, as reiterating his government's insistence that "termination" of US sanctions was the first step in reviving the nuclear agreement and getting Tehran to end its "retaliatory" measures, including increasing the quantity and quality of its enriched uranium.

The source referred to the negotiations earlier on Friday within the framework of the joint commission of the parties the deal - officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - and said Iran, during the session, emphasized the necessity of a "consistent removal" of all the United States sanctions and its verification before Tehran's return to full compliance.

Iran's enrichment was seen as upping the pressure for a USA return to the nuclear deal and a lifting of Trump's sanctions, which included banking measures aimed at cutting off the country from the worldwide financial system. She clarified that the summit will pursue two goals: discussing steps that Iran must take to return to compliance with the accord, and working out "sanctions relief steps" that the U.S. would also need to make in order to return to the JCPOA.

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The participants, maintains the statement, pointed to the need for the United States to lift the sanctions imposed against Iran and for Iran to return to its JCPOA commitments.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's ambassador to worldwide organizations in Vienna, said that "the impression is that we are on the right track, but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive efforts. The stakeholders seem to be ready for that". He also added that Iran would not mind if other parties to the JCPOA attempt to bring the United States back into the nuclear deal.

Any return of the U.S. would involve complications.

This is the beginning of what is expected to be a long process of negotiations to bring the Iran and the U.S. back into compliance with the deal. The JCPOA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear deal was signed.

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn't want to do.

Under that temporary agreement, Iran will no longer share surveillance footage of its facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency but has promised to preserve the tapes for three months. Under a last-minute deal worked out during a trip to Tehran, however, some access was preserved. It will then hand them over to the Vienna-based United Nations atomic watchdog if it is granted sanctions relief.

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