On Friday, the United States and Iran announced to start indirect talks with mediators upcoming week in an effort to get both nations back into compliance with a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, almost three years after former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the accord. Moreover, the recent announcement marks one of the first bits of solid progress in efforts to return both countries to terms of the 2015 deal, which restricts Iran to restrictions in return for relief from America and international sanctions.
Joe Biden, the President of the United States, assured the priority at the time of holding office to get back into the deal and getting the nuclear program of Iran back under international restrictions. However, the U.S. disagreed over the demands of Iran to primarily lifted the sanctions, and that deadlock between these nations threatened to become an early foreign policy setback for the American new president. Administration officials from both sides played down expectations for the negotiations of next week.
Ned Price, the spokesman of the State Department, called the recommencement of the talks, scheduled in Vienna on Tuesday, “a healthy step forward.” However, Price added that these remain initial days, and they don’t expect an immediate breakthrough as there will be hard decisions ahead. Robert Malley, U.S.-Iran envoy tweets that this a first step, and diplomats are now on the right path.
Trump Pulled out America from the Accord in 2018
Donald Trump withdrew America from the nuclear deal in 2018 and accused Iran of continuous cheating and chosen for what he called a maximum-pressure campaign of stepped-up American sanctions and other strict actions. On the other hand, Iran responded by escalating uranium enrichment and building centrifuges in direct violation of the pact while keeping its insistence that its nuclear development was for civilian and not military purposes.
Saudi Arabia, Israel, and other American allies and strategic partners are on continuous alert against the possibility of their main rival, Iran, achieving nuclear arms, raising tensions in a region where the United States military is present and frequently intervened. The enrichment program of Iran got as upping the pressure for an American return to the nuclear accord and lifting Trump’s sanctions, which also included banking measures intended to exclude Iran from the international financial system. Whereas the Trump government’s other measures included sanctioning Iran’s oil sales and blacklisted top Iranian government officials.
At the start of the indirect negotiations, the pact came after the European Union (U.N.) helped the negotiator to hold a virtual meeting of officials from France, Russia, Germany, China, Iran, and the United Kingdom, all of which remained in the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Furthermore, Price said that next week’s negotiations would be organized around working groups that the E.U. was forming with the remaining members in the deal, including Iran.
Primary Agenda of Indirect talks
Price said that in the next week’s talks, the officials would discuss main issues such as what Iran would need to take in order to return to acquiescence with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the sanctions relief steps that the U.S. would need to take to return to the agreement as well.
Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran, tweeted that the goal of the Vienna session would be to instantly finalize lifting the sanctions and nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions of the country, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures.
At virtual JCPOA JC meeting, Iran & EU/E3+2 agreed to resume in-person talks in Vienna next Tues.
Aim: Rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures.
No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 2, 2021
Likewise, the state television of Iran quoted Abbas Araghchi, the nuclear negotiator of the country, at the virtual meeting that any return of the United States to the nuclear accord doesn’t require any talks, and the path is quite clear. America can return to the agreement and stop breaching the law like it withdrew from the accord and imposed illegal sanctions on Iran.