USA to Hold Indirect Talks with Iran on Nuclear Deal

US and Iran hail 'constructive' indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

US and Iran hail 'constructive' indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's Vienna-based envoy to worldwide organizations, said Tuesday's meeting between those parties still in the deal was "successful" though it would take time to restore the agreement.

"Constructive Joint Commission meeting".

"[The talks] will be structured around working groups that our European - that the EU is going to form with the remaining parties to the JCPOA, and that includes Iran".

The European Union will preside over talks between current members of the 2015 pact - Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain - set to begin on Tuesday.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric, asked for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' reaction to the meetings, said: "We welcome all of these efforts by the JCPOA hold constructive dialogue".

Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, right, leaves the Grand Hotel Wien where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Russia's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mikhail Ulyanov, said after the meeting that the parties had tasked two expert-level groups on sanctions-lifting and nuclear issues to identify concrete measures to move forward.

USA and Iranian delegates held separate meetings with officials from the European Union and others who served as intermediaries in the talks that began in Vienna on Tuesday.

A second round of the JCPOA Joint Commission could take place as soon as Friday.

The American delegation is led by Special Envoy Robert Malley, who helped negotiate the original deal back in 2015. But the State Department indicated Monday that it will only lift those related to Iran's nuclear program.

"This is going to involve discussions about identifying the steps that the United States has to take and identifying the steps that Iran is going to have to take", Malley told NPR radio on Tuesday morning.

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Achieving that goal, however, will not be easy.

Iran argues that the USA violated the deal first with its withdrawal, so Washington has to take the first step by lifting sanctions. The United States did not attend.

"That is quite [a] logical and a very reasonable demand by the Islamic Republic of Iran", Araghchi said. "They have left the JCPOA and they have imposed sanctions".

"The talks in Vienna were constructive. our next meeting will be on Friday", Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi told Iranian state television. "No step-by-step plan has been announced by us and Iran has not accepted any such plan".

"Lifting U.S. sanctions is the first and the most necessary action for reviving the deal", Araghchi was quoted as saying.

But Iran is demanding an end to crippling sanctions imposed by Trump and has refused to meet United States negotiators at the latest talks, meaning European players will act as intermediaries. "We are confident that we are on the right track, and if America's will, seriousness and honesty is proven, it could be a good sign for a better future for this agreement and ultimately its full implementation", he said.

The choreography of the talks, in the hands of the Austrian host government, is particularly challenging. And, according to officials, it was also chose to remove some paintings inside the Grand Hotel and to cover up naked statues, in an effort not to offend the Iranian delegation.

Since neither side appears willing to make the first step, experts such as Vaez have suggested the negotiators could make a "gesture-for-gesture" deal to break the deadlock. A more hardline leader would make progress on the diplomatic front more hard.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump pulled the US unilaterally out of the accord, opting for what he called a maximum-pressure campaign involving restored and additional American sanctions.

"We can't ignore the reality of an election, but we can't let it dictate our pace either", he said.

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