In May 2018, the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, who responded by abandoning its commitments under the agreement. Since April 2021, Vienna has been hosting talks to restore the accord.
The US and other world powers are nearing an agreement to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, The Wall Street Journal has cited unnamed officials involved in the Vienna talks as saying.
The Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, in turn, referred to an unnamed EU source who told the news outlet that the Vienna talks are “really very much in the latest stage” and “most of the issues are agreed” upon.
This came as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian argued in an interview with CNN that the parties to the talks have never been closer to achieving “a good and urgent agreement”.
He said that in order to reach a deal, the Iranian team showed good initiative and flexibility and now it is time for the West to follow suit. According to him, such actions by the West could bring the negotiations to a close in a few hours or days.
“The American side is responsible for the failure of the JCPOA. The JCPOA was sabotaged by the US. And now the US should accept the responsibility for this and should show the required flexibility in order for the negotiations to come to a definite conclusion”, Amirabdollahian underscored.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has since pointed out that efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal cannot succeed unless Washington lifts its “major” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The JCPOA was inked in 2015 by the UK, Russia, China, the US, France, the EU plus Germany, and stipulated imposing restrictions on the advancement of the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions.
In May 2018, then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA, reinstating harsh economic sanctions on Iran. Exactly a year later, the Iranian government announced that Tehran had started to scale back its JCPOA obligations.
Since April 2021, Vienna has been hosting talks to restore the deal, with the seventh round of negotiations wrapping up on 17 December. The parties agreed on two drafts of a new deal which specifically includes provisions covering Iranian interests. The eighth round of talks kicked off on 27 December and was followed by negotiators taking a break in late January and resuming the talks on 8 February.