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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s top diplomat said an agreement can be reached with world powers over its nuclear deal if western parties have the will and intention to do so.

In an interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said an agreement could be reached if all sanctions were lifted.

An eighth round of negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal is underway in Vienna, where Iran is looking for guarantees that US sanctions will be lifted.

The talks over the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, are taking place between Iran and world powers that are signatories to the deal. The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the deal in 2018, is participating in the talks indirectly.

The JCPOA provided sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. But after the US withdrawal, Iran abandoned some curbs and is now using advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium up to 60%.

Following its departure, the US reimposed tough sanctions on Iran.

Tehran is now demanding the complete lifting of US sanctions, as well as guarantees that the US will not pull out of the accord again, and calling to be given a period of time to verify sanctions are effectively lifted.

“Lifting sanctions means lifting all forms of sanctions stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the sanctions that Trump reimposed contradict the terms of the agreement,” Amir-Abdollahian told Al Jazeera.

“We demand guarantees that include not imposing any new sanctions, and not reimposing sanctions after lifting them under any pretext,” he added.

 

 

Practical Model 

The Iranian official said the most “practical model” for this would be when it comes to Iran exporting oil and obtaining revenues through the country’s own banking system.

“There’s an informal and an indirect exchange of message with the Americans in Vienna—we hear good words from that delegation, but what is important to us is to see practical and serious American actions,” he Amir-Abdollahian.

Al Jazeera’s Dorsa Jabbari, reporting from Vienna, said Amir-Abdollahian seemed “quite optimistic”.

“The technical issues and the logistical issues they had over the agenda has been resolved,” Jabbari said.

“The foreign minister was very specific about Iran’s position—he gave some very good examples of what they’re looking for,” she added.

The US and Iran have said there has been progress in the indirect negotiations in Vienna for the sides to return to compliance with the JCPOA.

After weeks in which the US and E3—France, Germany and United Kingdom—expressed doubts that Iran was taking the talks seriously, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said steps have been taken toward a restoration of the JCPOA.

“What we can say at this point is that there was some modest progress in the talks last week; we hope to build on that this week,” Price said at the State Department press briefing on Tuesday. “What is clear is that if we do not soon reach an understanding on a mutual return to compliance, Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps will increasingly diminish the nonproliferation benefits of the JCPOA.”

 

 

American Priority 

He contended that the US will “be watching very closely,” to determine “whether the Iranians are as sincere and as steadfast as we have been in seeking a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.”

“But even if there has been some progress, the fundamental situation really remains,” Price added. “Iran needs to exercise restraint in its nuclear program and pursue negotiations in Vienna seriously.”

Iran chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said on Wednesday that the talks are moving forward.

“The more serious the other side is in being prepared to lift sanctions and accept Iran’s mechanisms for lifting sanctions, especially on verification and guarantee issues, the sooner we can reach an agreement,” Baqeri stated.

Price said sanctions relief would come in tandem with steps taken by Iran to limit its nuclear program, and that matter is “really at the heart of the negotiations that are ongoing in Vienna right now.”

“We have made the point repeatedly that it remains in our national interest to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, because at this moment, on this day, the nonproliferation benefits that the JCPOA entails are the best outcome when it comes to what’s in our national interest,” Price said.

However, he added, “that will not be true for long, as Iran continues with nuclear steps that only diminish the utility of the guarantees that the 2015 deal would bring back into effect. That’s why our priority remains reaching and implementing a rapid mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA.”


 

nuclear agreement US sanctions