NATIONAL NEWS

World Powers Seek To Bring US Back Into Iran Nuclear Deal

Apr 6, 2021, 11:59 AM
In this handout provided by the EU Delegation in Vienna, Representatives of the European Union, Ira...
In this handout provided by the EU Delegation in Vienna, Representatives of the European Union, Iran and others attend the Iran nuclear talks at the Grand Hotel on April 06, 2021 in Vienna, Austria. Representatives from the United States, Iran, the European Union, Russia, China and other participants from the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are meeting directly and indirectly over possibly reviving the plan. The JCPOA was the European-led initiative by which Iran agreed not to pursue a nuclear weapon in exchange for concessions, though the United States, under the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, abandoned the deal and intensified sanctions against Iran. (Photo by EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty Images)
(Photo by EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty Images)

VIENNA (AP) — Officials from five world powers began a new effort Tuesday to try to bring the United States back into the foundering 2015 nuclear deal they signed with Iran, a delicate diplomatic dance that needs to balance the concerns and interests of both Washington and Tehran.

The meeting in Vienna of envoys from Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran came as the U.S. was due to start its own indirect talks with Iran. It would be one of the first signs of tangible progress in efforts to return both nations to the accord, which restricted Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions.

Following the closed meetings of the signatories to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Russia’s delegate, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that the initial talks were “successful.”

“The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. It will take some time. How long? Nobody knows,” he wrote. “The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is that practical work towards achieving this goal has started.”

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. unilaterally out of the accord, opting for what he called a maximum-pressure campaign involving restored and additional American sanctions.

Since then, Iran has been steadily violating restrictions in the deal, like the amount of enriched uranium that it can stockpile and the purity to which it can be enriched. Tehran’s moves have been calculated to pressure the other nations in the deal to do more to offset crippling U.S. sanctions reimposed under Trump.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who was vice president under Barack Obama when the original deal was negotiated, has said he wants to bring the U.S. back into the JCPOA but that Iran must reverse its violations.

Iran argues that the U.S. violated the deal first with its withdrawal, so Washington has to take the first step by lifting sanctions.

Following the meeting in Vienna, Iranian state television quoted Iran’s negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, as reiterating that message during the opening round of talks.

“Lifting U.S. sanctions is the first and the most necessary action for reviving the deal,” Araghchi was quoted as saying. “Iran is fully ready to reverse its activities and return to complete implementation of the deal immediately after it is verified sanctions are lifted.”

At the meeting, participants agreed to establish two expert-level groups, one on the lifting of sanctions and one on nuclear issues, which were “tasked to identify concrete measures to be taken by Washington and Tehran to restore full implementation of JCPOA,” Ulyanov tweeted.

They are to start work immediately, and report their conclusions to the main negotiators.

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn’t want to do. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear deal was signed.

In the latest announced violation, Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s civilian nuclear program, said officials had begun mechanical testing of an IR-9 prototype centrifuge. That centrifuge would enrich uranium 50 times faster than the IR-1s allowed under the accord, he said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

The clock is ticking on trying to get the U.S. back into the deal, with the goal of returning Iran to compliance, with a number of issues to consider.

In late February, Iran began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities, but under a last-minute deal worked out during a trip to Tehran by Rafael Grossi, the head of the Vienna-based U.N. atomic watchdog, some access was preserved.

Under the agreement, Iran will no longer share surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the IAEA but it has promised to preserve the tapes for three months. It will then hand them over to the IAEA if it is granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the recordings, narrowing the window for a diplomatic breakthrough.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in March also urged the U.S. to act quickly, noting that as his country’s June elections approach, Washington will find itself dealing with a government unable to make progress in the nuclear talks.

In addition, one of the JCPOA’s major so-called sunset clauses, a United Nations arms embargo on Iran, expired last year and others are set to expire in the coming years.

The small window for negotiation will make it even more difficult for the U.S. to try to bring new concerns into the deal, such as Iran’s regional influence and its ballistic missile program.

Though not taking part in the JCPOA talks, a U.S. delegation headed by the administration’s special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley was also in the Austrian capital.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the delegation was there to hold talks structured around the working groups being formed by the Europeans.

Price said Monday the talks are a “healthy step forward” but added that “we don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough, as these discussions, we fully expect, will be difficult.”

“We don’t anticipate at present that there will be direct talks with Iran,” he said. “Though of course we remain open to them. And so we’ll have to see how things go.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday there was value to having U.S. diplomats on the ground in Vienna even though they won’t be in direct talks with Iran.

“I think it’s important to convey to our partners … that we believe diplomacy is the best step forward,” Psaki said.

Zarif on Friday reiterated Iran’s position that no additional talks on the JCPOA are needed, since the deal and its parameters have already been negotiated.

“No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary,” he tweeted.

The JCPOA Joint Commission was expected to meet again Friday, and in the meantime, Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chaired the talks, said he would be reaching out individually to all sides.

“As coordinator I will intensively separate contacts here in Vienna with all relevant parties, including U.S.,” he tweeted.

—-

Associated Press writers Geir Moulson in Berlin, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, contributed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

This booking image provided by the Chicago Police Department, shows Eva Bratcher, who has been accu...
Associated Press

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
1 day ago
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 02...
Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro

House GOP votes to oust Democrat Omar from major committee

House Republicans have voted to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
1 day ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on F...
Colleen Long and Chris Megerian, Associated Press

Biden urges unity at prayer breakfast under new management

President Joe Biden attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington and delivered a message of unity.
1 day ago
FILE: Groundhog handler AJ Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late sp...
Associated Press

Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
1 day ago
Law enforcement officers aim their weapons at a home during a standoff in Grants Pass, Ore., on Tue...
Associated Press

Oregon kidnapping suspect dies of self-inflicted gunshot

The suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
2 days ago
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference after a Federal Open M...
Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Fed lifts rate by quarter-point and signals more hikes ahead

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
World Powers Seek To Bring US Back Into Iran Nuclear Deal