Hotel Palais Coburg in Vienna where Iran nuclear talks take place.

Hotel Palais Coburg in Vienna where Iran nuclear talks take place.

Diplomat: US-Iran Contacts In Nuclear Talks Moving More Quickly


Indirect talks between Iran and the United States in Vienna have picked up pace although challenges remain, a Western diplomat told Iran International Wednesday.

While the nuclear talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal – the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ­– formally involve remaining JCPOA members and not the US, the central issue in the discussions is squaring the lifting of US sanctions with Tehran curbing its atomic program.

It has been reported that the three western European JCPOA signatories – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – have been liaising between the formal discussions and the American delegation, which is in Vienna in a separate hotel.

The diplomat, who did not want to be named, said that Iran continued to request a US guarantee that it would not leave the JCPOA once revived, and that Iran specifically would not be satisfied by a verbal guarantee from US President Joe Biden.

According to the diplomat, Tehran had also asked for assurances that Washington would not again impose sanctions that would impede non-American companies from trading with or investing in Iran.

The diplomat said that Iran’s ballistic missile program had not been raised in the talks, which have focused on reviving the JCPOA. Republicans in the US and Israel have been arguing that the US should insist on attaching to the talks a range of demands, including many raised by the administration of president Donald Trump when it left the JCPOA in 2018 and imposed ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions.

When the talks began in April, Biden officials talked of a ‘follow on’ agreement over regional security, but Tehran made clear it was committed to the JCPOA separation of nuclear and other issues, and that it would not make unliteral defense concessions.

Identifying which US sanctions contravene the JCPOA is a major task in the talks. Officials in the Trump administration conceded that many sanctions imposed on other grounds were designed to complicate the task of a successor administration in reviving the agreement.

Since 2018, the US has sanctioned Iranian officials for links to the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and in 2019 listed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a ‘terrorist’ organization.Iran argues that the whole web of US sanctions impedes its ability to trade internationally, although its special concern is US secondary sanctions threatening punitive actions against third parties buying Iran’s oil or dealing with its financial sector.

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Chand Chand

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