EghtesadOnline: The first round of the 2015 nuclear deal’s Joint Commission meeting, which is ongoing in the Austrian capital Vienna, concluded on Tuesday evening with participants agreeing to continue consultations at the experts level.
Iran and the five remaining parties to the deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, are holding the 18th round of the Joint Commission meeting to discuss ways of overcoming the current impasse facing the agreement.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi is heading the Iranian delegation that consists of representatives from other state bodies, including the Central Bank of Iran, the Oil Ministry and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
Following the meeting, Araqchi reiterated that sanctions lifting is the most essential step toward the revival of JCPOA, stressing that Iran is completely ready to stop its remedial measures and return to full compliance as soon as the bans are removed and their effectiveness is verified, ISNA reported.
The panel of experts will hold consultations on technical aspects and details of the measures regarding sanctions and nuclear activities to be taken by the United States and Iran toward their return to full implementation of the deal.
The US pulled out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, which responded by reducing its compliance as per the provisions of the very agreement.
The new US administration wishes to rejoin, but the situation faces a deadlock with Washington calling on Iran to resume full compliance first and Iran demanding a complete removal of sanctions before it reverses its nuclear steps.
Not in the Same Room
Representatives of the United States were present in Vienna as well to engage in talks with the other parties about possible ways of returning to the deal, although not in the same room with Iran.
A statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry stressed that no American representative was to take part in the Joint Commission meeting or its expert panels, and no direct or indirect talks with the US are on the agenda of the Iranian delegation.
“Negotiations will only be held within the framework of the JCPOA [Joint Commission] participated by representatives from Iran and the P4+1 countries,” it said, referring to the five remaining members, namely France, Britain, Russia and China, plus Germany.
According to diplomats, the remaining parties to the deal were to meet first at a Viennese hotel for preparatory talks. The US delegation, headed by special envoy Rob Malley, is based in a nearby hotel.
Britain, France and Germany, are expected to act as intermediaries.
"This is going to involve discussions about identifying the steps that the US has to take and identifying the steps that Iran is going to have to take," Malley had said in a recent interview with Morning Edition.
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price had said earlier that Washington does not anticipate an immediate breakthrough, but believes this is “a healthy step forward".
Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei also said Iran is neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the outcome of this meeting now, but officials in Tehran are confident that they are on the right track.
“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 ultimate goal, according to Rabiei, is the removal of all sanctions that were reimposed, introduced or relabeled after the US withdrawal.
Iran has ruled out the possibility of a step-by-step solution, saying there is only one step that has to be taken by the US, which involves its lifting of all sanctions.
Rabiei stressed that the process could take place as a series of independent, but related mutual measures in only one short-term stage.
Bilateral meetings were scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the event with the heads of delegations from the P4+1 countries, according to the Foreign Ministry statement.
The meeting with China was held on Monday evening and talks with the Russian and European sides were arranged for Tuesday morning.