by Eldad Beck and News Agencies
Diplomats offer contradicting accounts on the progress in the talks taking place in Vienna to bring Iran and the United States fully back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
|Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi leaves the Grand Hotel after a meeting on the nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria on April 27, 2021 | File photo:|
Following recent nuclear talks in Vienna, Iran expects US sanctions on oil, banks and most individuals and institutions to be lifted, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian media Saturday, while the United States again downplayed the prospect of an imminent breakthrough.
"Sanctions ... on Iran's energy sector, which include oil and gas, or those on the automotive industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, all should be lifted based on agreements reached so far," Araghchi was quoted as saying by Iranian state TV.
He did not say how exactly the sanctions would be lifted or refer to how Tehran would meet Washington's demands to return to its commitments under the deal.
"We will negotiate until the two sides' positions come closer and our demands are met," he said. "If they are met there will be an agreement, if not there will naturally be no agreement."
The US State Department had no immediate comment on reports of progress, and said the US assessment of the talks remained where it was on Thursday. On that day, State Department spokesman Ned Price said there had been some movement but that an agreement was far from done or even guaranteed.
Russian and Western European diplomats involved in the negotiations also gave contrasting accounts of the progress in the talks to bring Iran and the United States fully back into compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal, as the talks adjourned for six days.
After the meeting, Russia's top representative, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, "noted today the indisputable progress made at the Vienna talks on restoration of the nuclear deal."
"The Joint Commission will reconvene at the end of the next week," Ulyanov wrote. "In the meantime, experts will continue to draft elements of future agreement."
"It's too early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism," he added. "There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately three weeks."
At which stage the Vienna talks on #JCPOA restoration are? It’s to early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism. There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately 3 weeks. Is it realistic? We will see.— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) May 1, 2021
The three Western European countries involved in the talks struck a more restrained note. "We have much work and little time left. Against that background, we would have hoped for more progress this week," the senior diplomats said, talking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named. "We have yet to come to an understanding on the most critical points. Success is by no means guaranteed, but not impossible."
Eldad Beck and News Agencies