Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday’s talks in Vienna between Iran and the other nuclear deal participants marked a “new chapter” in the effort to revive the agreement, known as the JCPOA.
An Iranian delegation met with officials from Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany on Tuesday. Communications with the US were held through EU intermediaries, and both sides agreed to establish working groups that will figure out how the US can return to the JCPOA.
“In recent days, we have been witnessing a new chapter in the JCPOA’s revival,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, according to Iran’s Press TV. “All the countries that were committed to the JCPOA gathered in Vienna with different combinations, including the P4+1 and Iran as well as the P4+1 and the United States.”
The P4+1 refers to the four permanent members of the UN Security Council that are still a party to the deal plus Germany. Before the US withdrew from the deal, the group was known as the P5+1.
Rouhani added, “Everyone around the nuclear deal has come to the conclusion that there is no better solution than the JCPOA and no other way but the full implementation of the JCPOA. This is a new success for the Islamic Republic.”
While it appears positive progress is being made, the question now is if the Biden administration is willing to return to the original agreement or if it will make unreasonable demands and waste this opportunity.
Questions also remain over which sanctions the Biden administration is willing to lift. Since 2018, the US has slapped an enormous number of sanctions on Iran. Some are related to Iran’s civilian nuclear program, while others were imposed for alleged human rights violations and claims of terrorism. It’s not clear if the US is willing to lift non-nuclear-related sanctions.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday that the Biden administration is willing to lift sanctions that are “inconsistent” with the JCPOA but did not elaborate if this means non-nuclear-related sanctions when pressed by reporters.