VIENNA (Dispatches) -- The remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal met in Vienna on Wednesday, as diplomats said the meeting would wrap up the latest round of talks on reviving the deal and adjourn discussions for at least a week.
Such meetings of the remaining parties - Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union - in a format known as the Joint Commission have punctuated and bookended talks to return the United States to full compliance with the 2015 deal.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said the barriers to the revival of the deal are complicated but not insurmountable.
“Differences have reached a point where everyone believes these differences are not insolvable,” Abbas Araqchi said ahead of the meeting. “But the details are important and Iran’s firm positions are important to be observed.”
Iran’s government spokesman on Tuesday denied that negotiations had stalled with the Islamic Republic’s June 18 presidential election less than three weeks away.
“I do not think there will be much delay between today’s meeting and the next round of talks. Like in the previous rounds, we will probably return to Vienna after consulting with our capitals,” Araqchi said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors holds a quarterly meeting next week, with a number of the delegates at the nuclear talks due to attend.
Russia’s representative to the international organizations in Vienna said ahead of the meeting that the talks may need “additional time” to reach a breakthrough, emphasizing that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
Mikhail Ulyanov made the remarks in a tweet in response to reports that Moscow was optimistic about progress in the Vienna talks between the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Not necessarily. We simply observe steady progress at the Vienna talks on #JCPOA. We recognize this obvious fact. But we are always cautious in our assessments: nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We are very close to this stage but it may take additional time,” he wrote.
In another tweet, Ulyanov said, “I envy political analysts who make their judgments so easily on the most complicated world problems. My recommendation: don’t make hasty conclusions.”
A U.S. delegation is also in the Austrian capital, but it is not attending the discussions because the United States is not a party to the nuclear accord.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump abandoned the deal and reimposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the JCPOA had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign.
Following a year of strategic patience, Iran resorted to its legal rights stipulated in Article 26 of the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of non-compliance by other signatories, and let
go of some of the restrictions imposed on its nuclear energy program.
Now, the new U.S. administration says it wants to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it is showing an overriding propensity for maintaining some of the sanctions as a tool of pressure.
Tehran insists that all sanctions should first be removed in a verifiable manner before the Islamic Republic reverses its remedial measures.
The world’s five major emerging economies (BRICS) - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - called for a peaceful solution to the issues related to Iran’s nuclear program.
After a virtual meeting Tuesday, the BRICS foreign ministers stressed in a final statement the need for the diplomatic settlement of Iran’s nuclear issues.
“The foreign ministers stressed the need to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful, diplomatic and international law, and called for the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 2231,” the statement read.