On Saturday, top diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia resumed talks focused on bringing America back into their landmark nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The United States wouldn’t have a representative at the table when the diplomats meet in Vienna because former U.S. President Trump unilaterally pulled the country out of the agreement in 2018, also known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Moreover, Mr. Trump restored and augmented sanctions to try to force Tehran into renegotiating the deal with more concessions.
Several world powers resume talks in Vienna to speed up negotiations to bring the US back to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran pic.twitter.com/BzKLUcJGbh
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) April 27, 2021
Joe Biden, American President, wants to rejoin the Iran deal, however, and a United States delegation in Vienna is taking part in indirect talks with Tehran, with diplomats from the other Great Powers acting as go-betweens.
According to information from current and former American officials and other sources familiar with the subject earlier this week, the United States government is considering a rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-period sanctions to get Persia to come back into compliance with the terms of the nuclear pact.
Before the main discussions, Russia’s top representative Mikhail Ulyanov said JCPOA members met on the side with officials from the United States delegation but that the Iranian delegation wasn’t ready to meet with American diplomats.
Iran hit back by beginning to enrich a small amount of uranium up to 60 percent
Ulyanov said in the tweet that JCPOA participants held informal consultations with the United States delegation at the Vienna talks on a complete restoration of the nuclear agreement without Tehran, who is still not ready to meet with United States diplomats.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action promised Iran economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. The re-imposition of American sanctions has left Tehran’s economy reeling.
Iran has responded by steadily increasing its violations of the restrictions of the pact, like increasing the purity of uranium metal it enriches and its stockpiles, in a thus-far unsuccessful attempt to pressure the other nations to provide relief.
The ultimate goal of the nuke deal is to prevent Iran from developing an atomic bomb, something it insists it does not want to do. The Islamic Republic now has enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear agreement was signed.
The Vienna talks started in early April 2021 and have included several rounds of high-level negotiations. Expert groups also have been working on proposals on how to resolve the matters around the U.S. sanctions and Iranian compliance and the possible sequencing of the United States return. However, outside the Vienna talks, other challenges remain.
A strike believed to have been carried out by Israel lately struck Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, causing an unidentified amount of damage. Iran retaliated by starting to enrich a small amount of uranium up to its highest level of 60 percent purity ever.