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EghtesadOnline: The Joint Commission of the 2015 nuclear deal reconvened on Tuesday in Vienna, Austria, to resume discussions on ways to revive the agreement after delegates held consultations in their capitals.

The meeting was as usual chaired by Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora and attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran. Negotiators from the United States were also present in the city for informal engagement in the talks. 

Mora said on twitter on Monday that in this round, they will “redouble efforts to get full #JCPOA implementation soon.”

The Vienna talks initiated in early April to restore the nuclear deal that has been unravelling since the United States’ pulled out in 2018 and Iran reduced its compliance in response to the American maximum economic pressure. 

Expert groups are working out the steps Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

JCPOA parties noted significant progress in the talks last week as they wrapped up their fourth round of negotiations, hoping an agreement would soon be reached. 

Upon leaving for the Vienna for the new round of talks, US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said, “The latest round of talks was constructive and saw meaningful progress. But much work still needs to be done.”

In his tweet, He expressed hope that the fifth round will “further advance toward a mutual return to compliance.”

White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said starting a fifth round of talks is a sign that the Washington is continuing to “plug along on the path to diplomacy.”

“We continue to believe that’s absolutely the right approach and the right steps,” he said at a press briefing on Monday. 

Iran’s top negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said there are signs of Washington’s return to the JCPOA, but stressed that the negotiations have not been concluded yet. 

“If all sanctions are removed and Tehran verifies their lifting, Iran will return to its commitments as well,” he said. 

 

 

Window of Opportunity 

To provide a window of opportunity for the talks to succeed, Iran also agreed to extend its deadline for restricting international monitoring of its nuclear sites. 

In line with its reciprocal measures and as per a parliamentary law in late February, Iran halted its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol under which the International Atomic Energy Agency collects and analyzes images from a series of surveillance cameras installed at Iranian nuclear sites.  

It, however, agreed to keep the cameras on, but only share the footage with the agency if sanctions were removed by the end of a three-month time frame. 

Although this demand was not met by the May 21 deadline, the promising course of negotiations convinced the Iranian side to extend the period for another month under the same circumstances. 

The Supreme National Security Council announced the extension on Monday and Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi called on the negotiating parties to use this opportunity toward a complete lifting of sanctions in a practical and verifiable manner. 

Mora welcomed the announcement as “good news”, saying it allows for a bit more space to reach an agreement in Vienna. 

Russia’s envoy Mikhail Ulyanov took to Twitter to describe the decision as a “commendable step”.

“It will help maintain businesslike atmosphere at the Vienna talks on #JCPOA and facilitate a successful outcome of the diplomatic efforts to restore the nuclear deal.” 

 

JCPOA nuclear deal Vienna