Mediators work to get Iran, US back in talks

The Iran nuclear deal resumed talks on Tuesday, with lifting sanctions on Iran and nuclear implementation measures at the top of the agenda.

The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal, resumed talks on Tuesday, with lifting sanctions on Iran and nuclear implementation measures at the top of the agenda.

The meeting has drawn public attention as representatives from the United States are in Vienna to save the deal, which was struck in 2015 but paralyzed by the US withdrawal in 2018 and Iran’s counter-sanctions moves afterwards.

The US and Iranian negotiators will not meet face-to-face but will hold indirect talks with the intensified help of the coordinators, according to a statement previously released by the European Union External Action Service.

Washington said on Monday that its goal of the talks was to set the stage for a mutual return to compliance with the 2015 accord but did not anticipate an immediate breakthrough.

Meanwhile, Tehran demanded the full removal of US sanctions.

“The path is clear. All US sanctions must be removed at once,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference on Monday.

Tehran has repeatedly rebuffed “direct and indirect negotiations” with US.

“We are confident that we are on the right track, and if America’s will, seriousness and honesty is proven, it could be a good sign for a better future for this agreement,” Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters.

The remaining parties to the deal will first meet at a Viennese hotel for preparatory talks amid snowy conditions in the Austrian capital, where the pact was originally reached in 2015.

Officials from Britain, France and Germany, will act as intermediaries between Iran and the United States, shuttling between both delegations. Russia and China, the other parties to the 2015 pact, are also attending.

The US delegation, headed by special envoy Rob Malley, will be based in a nearby hotel.

An EU official said working groups would be created with the aim of marrying lists of sanctions that the United States could lift and nuclear obligations that Iran should meet.

Diplomats said talks could continue for several days to resolve some of the easier issues before resuming next week.

Under the 2015 accord, US and other economic sanctions on Tehran were removed in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program

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