Iranian media reported that consultations and meetings at different levels and formats continued, following the BARJAM talks in Vienna, the Austrian capital. And that a meeting of the expert group on lifting sanctions with the presence of Iranian experts and the P5+1 group was held at the Palais Coburg Hotel.
Fars News Agency also reported that “talks at the level of heads of delegations will be held bilaterally and multilaterally today in Vienna.”
The IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency also wrote that “mechanisms have been put on the table in the Vienna talks on the issue of guarantees, and discussions on the details of such mechanisms are underway.”
Another critical issue is the verification of the lifting of sanctions so that Iran can effectively, practically, and verifiably benefit from the lifting of sanctions. A checklist of the verification of US actions is to be prepared.
The talks are scheduled to continue from Monday, and according to Iranian media, “representatives of relevant institutions, including the Central Bank and the Atomic Energy Organization, will also attend the meetings with the aim of speeding up the negotiation process and providing detailed expert opinions.”
Time Is Running Out
“Progress has been made in this regard,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said yesterday regarding the process of reviving the UN Security Council in Vienna.
“The time to reach an agreement in the Iran nuclear talks is coming to an end,” Mr. Le Drian said, adding that “I am convinced we can reach an agreement, but time is running out.”
For the past six weeks, a new round of Vienna talks aimed at returning Iran and the United States to the UN Security Council and lifting US sanctions against Iran has begun, and during this period, there has been little news of progress in the talks.
Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, said last week that this week’s Vienna talks had seen some progress.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative to international organizations in Vienna, also tweeted yesterday that all parties in the Vienna talks agreed that progress had been made towards reaching an agreement and lifting sanctions; Mr. Ulyanov, however, said “further steps were needed” to get a conclusion.
Iranian media reported yesterday that talks between Iran and the United States were to take place “through informal correspondence,” focusing on coordinating the Joint Commission.
During a visit to Washington last week, the German foreign minister warned that time was running out for the talks to conclude.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned this week that the time was running out to revive the nuclear deal.
The eighth round of talks to revive BARJAM resumed on Monday, January 3, after a break of several days to mark the start of the New Year.
The purpose of reviving the BARJAM agreement is to lift Iran’s nuclear sanctions in exchange for halting some aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.
The negotiations began with the victory of Democratic President Joe Biden in the spring of 2021 but were stopped for five months after the victory of Ibrahim Raisi in the Iranian presidential election.
Iran says the primary purpose of reviving BARJAM is to lift sanctions, sell oil and gain access to its revenues.
The new round of US sanctions, which began with the withdrawal of the United States from the BARJAM agreement in the spring of 2018, has led to a drop in sales of Iranian oil and oil and petrochemical products.
What Happened When?
Negotiations for restoring the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers in 2015 will begin this month.
A few days ago, Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s chief negotiator, said that the Iranian government had agreed to participate in the talks in Vienna on November 29.
Earlier the Biden administration said it would attend a meeting in Vienna with other parties, including Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the deal could be reached soon if Iran’s representatives were serious but added that the United States would expect the talks to begin where they arrived last June. And then there was the stalemate.
Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi is expected to take a strong stance in the talks.
Western nations have been waiting for months for Iran to rejoin the talks. These countries say that the nuclear progress in Iran is now a little more than the actual agreement.
In 2015, Iran recognized limits on uranium enrichment, its total quantity, and the machinery used in the process. In addition, Iran has agreed to monitor the situation internationally. In return, sanctions against Iran were lifted.
The agreement was working perfectly according to the UN, and Iran was keeping its promises when in 2018, US President Trump announced his withdrawal from the agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Due to these sanctions, Iran will not be able to access its billions of dollars in foreign banks.
Iran has stepped up uranium enrichment since the United States withdrew from the deal. Iran’s economy is being hit hard by US economic sanctions and says that the previous agreement is not reaping economic benefits and wants European countries to ease US pressure on Iran.
European countries, including Britain, France, and Germany, are caught between Washington and Tehran. The world powers believe Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb, but the Iranian government has denied this.
They want the agreement to last, and for that, they have slowly but surely created a system that will make it easier for Tehran to pay for relief goods that are not subject to US sanctions.
That is not enough for Iran. Iranians want key sectors of their economy, such as oil and metals, to be freed from US pressure, but European countries can do nothing to help.
Now the United States wants to return to the old agreement, and Iran wants to lift sanctions, but both sides say the front should take the first step.
What Was Agreed Upon In The First Agreement?
The plan, called The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed between Iran and the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.
Under it, Iran will limit the amount of uranium enriched over the past 15 years, which is used as a fuel for reactors, nuclear weapons development, and the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges.
Iran also agreed to replace a heavy water facility so that plutonium could not be made to make bombs.
Since being certified by the IAEA, Iran has complied with most of its commitments. The agreement was ratified by the Security Council and came into force in January 2016.