Iran starts up advanced centrifuges in nuclear deal breach

Katie Ramirez
April 11, 2021

Members of the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program will meet again in Vienna next week in the aim of reviving the troubled accord.

Both sides have been trying to force each other into concessions of late, despite both indicating the wish to restore the pact.

"I'd say we saw some signs of it, but certainly not enough", the official said.

Iran is seeking to have USA sanctions lifted, while the Biden administration is looking for the country to return to the terms of the 2015 Nuclear Deal.

If the Biden team decides that Trump's sanctions were legitimately imposed on other grounds, like supposedly backing of terrorism, for example, it won't lift them, the official asserted.

The US, he said, has made it clear publicly to the Iranians indirectly that it is America's view is that all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and inconsistent with the benefits that Iran expects from the JCPOA.

Although the United States was an original signatory to the deal in 2015, Trump ordered the country's withdrawal from the agreement in 2018. European intermediaries relayed messages to the Americans from the talks.

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The US official indicated that the major stumbling block in the initial talks was not the order of compliance but rather which sanctions were under discussion as Iran is demanding an end to all US restrictions.

"All Trump sanctions were anti-JCPOA and must be removed-w/o distinction between arbitrary designations", Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Twitter, referring to the deal by its full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

"It's really just preliminary steps", the official said. While it has declined to elaborate, that appears to exclude sanctions formally unrelated to nuclear issues covered by the deal.

Despite the US and Iran appearing to remain far apart, Press TV said Tehran views the talks as moving in the right direction and said the next Vienna meeting will take place Wednesday.

Talks are set to resume Wednesday with Iran again meeting the other nations in the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation as well as the European Union.

Gärtner said Iran's outgoing President Hassan Rouhani, whose government negotiated and entered the JCPOA in 2015, also has an incentive to bring sanctions relief to his people again and thereby avoid leaving office with his reputation marred by a failed agreement. Additionally to sanctions related to Iran's nuclear programme, the Trump administration imposed penalising measures against Iranian industries and financial sectors over alleged support for "terrorism". They have the largest ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East.

"Otherwise, there will be no reason to continue negotiations", he said. "I see no evidence of a strategic decision by Tehran to change course and live at peace with its neighbors".

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