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EghtesadOnline: Negotiations on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal have reached a level where participants can begin working on a joint document in areas where there is common understanding, according to a senior Iranian diplomat.

“It seems that a new understanding is taking shape. There is consensus on the ultimate goal among all sides and the procedures to be followed are now better identified,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said, following the latest meeting of the deal’s Joint Commission on Saturday, ISNA reported.  

He, however, noted that the way ahead would not be easy as there are still serious differences that need to be addressed in the next rounds of negotiation. 

The nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been on shaky ground since the United States pulled out unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran. 

Iran later responded by surpassing the limits of the agreement until it can enjoy its economic benefits once again.  

The new administration in the US has shown willingness to rejoin the deal, but the situation faces challenges due to disagreements over what steps and in what order should be taken by Washington and Tehran.  

JCPOA’s Joint Commission initiated talks in Vienna, Austria, early this month to resolve the deadlock. 

Working groups of experts have been tasked with devising a feasible process for Washington’s sanctions lifting and Tehran’s return to full nuclear implementation. They regularly share the results with JCPOA’s Joint Commission. 

The US is not attending the meetings but follows the talks through the remaining parties, namely France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.

 

More Detailed Work 

On Saturday, the commission resumed its work to review the results of working groups. 

The meeting, as usual, was chaired on behalf of European Union High Representative Josep Borrell by Deputy Secretary-General and Political Director of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora. 

He said in a tweet after the meeting that the negotiations had made progress and more detailed work was now needed. 

“After intensive talks, we have taken stock in the Joint Commission. Progress has been made in a far from easy task. We need now more detailed work. Key that everyone is committed to the same objectives: US rejoining the #JCPOA and its full implementation,” he said. 

Araqchi, who is heading Iran’s delegation, said Tehran has proposed its own texts on both sanctions lifting and nuclear steps, which can be a basis for follow-on negotiations toward an ultimate agreement that meets both the demands of Iran and the other sides. 

“In our view, the time has come to start drafting a document, at least in areas where there is consensus,” he said.   

According to a tweet by Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov, the commission instructed the working groups to continue their activities “on Saturday afternoon, Sunday and next week in order not to waste time and to make further progress in the negotiations on #JCPOA restoration”. 

China's envoy also told reporters that participants had agreed to accelerate work on issues, including which sanctions the US would lift.

"All parties have agreed to further pick up their pace in subsequent days by engaging (in) more extensive, substantive work on sanctions-lifting as well as other relevant issues," Wang Qun said.

Delegates will continue holding bilateral and multilateral meetings in the meantime. 

 

JCPOA negotiations nuclear deal