TEHRAN – A government official said on Wednesday that Washington had agreed to remove all sanctions on Iran’s oil and shipping, but Germany said major issues remained in Vienna talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.
The claims by outgoing president Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff echoed those by other officials in Rouhani’s administration that Washington was prepared to make major concessions at the talks, underway since April in the Austrian capital.
The talks adjourned on Sunday for a break, two days after Iran held a presidential election won by Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s judiciary, who is due to replace Rouhani in August.
“An agreement has been reached to remove all insurance, oil and shipping sanctions that were imposed by [former U.S. President Donald] Trump,” presidential chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi said.
“About 1,040 Trump-era sanctions will be lifted under the agreement. It was also agreed to lift some sanctions on individuals and members” of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s office.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday there was still “a fair distance to travel”.
Other western and Iranian officials have also said the talks are a long way from a conclusion.
Vaezi’s claim came after Washington’s seizure on Tuesday of 33 websites run by Iran-linked media. He said the U.S. move was “not constructive” for the talks.
“We are using all international and legal means to... condemn... this mistaken policy of the United States,” Vaezi told reporters. “It appears not constructive when talks for a deal on the nuclear issue are under way.”
French Junior Foreign Minister Franck Riester told lawmakers that time was running out to reach a deal and he opened the door to the idea that a deal might not be reached quickly.
“Difficult decisions will need to be made in the coming days or weeks if these negotiations were not to move forward.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said Tehran and the West still had to overcome significant hurdles.
“We are making progress but there are still some nuts to crack,” Maas told a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
On Tuesday, sources close to the Vienna talks told Press TV that the United States is still refusing to remove anti-Iran sanctions and honor commitments required for its return to the 2015 nuclear deal after six rounds of talks in Vienna.
They said President Joe Biden is sticking to his predecessor Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.