VIENNA (AP) — Negotiators from Iran and five world powers resumed negotiations, Monday, on restoring Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal, with Iran insisting that the United States and its allies promise to allow it to export its crude oil.
The latest round of talks in Vienna, the eighth, opened 10 days after negotiations were adjourned for the Iranian negotiator to return home for consultations. The previous round, the first after a more than five-month gap caused by the arrival of a new hard-line government in Iran, was marked by tensions over new Iranian demands.
“If we work hard in the days and weeks ahead, we should have a positive result,” Enrique Mora, the European Union diplomat who chaired the talks, said after the opening session. But “it’s going to be very hard — difficult political decisions have to be taken.”
Tehran’s landmark accord with world powers — Britain, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China — granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
But in 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew America from the deal and imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, including against its oil sector — the lifeline of its economy. Iran’s crude exports plummeted and international oil companies scrapped deals with Tehran, weakening its economy.
The other signatories struggled to keep alive the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The United States is participating only indirectly in this year’s talks to restore the deal, which President Joe Biden has signaled he wants to rejoin.
Speaking in Tehran ahead of the talks’ resumption, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Iran wants the upcoming round of talks to focus on its sanctions-hit oil industry. The aim is to get to the “point where Iranian oil is being sold easily and without any barriers and its money arrives in Iran’s bank accounts,” he said.
Amirabdollahian said Iran wanted to “be able to enjoy full economic concessions under the nuclear deal.”
“Guarantee and verification (of the removal of sanctions) are among topics that we have focused on,” he said.
The new administration of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has repeatedly demanded the removal of all economic sanctions before Iran reins in its nuclear advances.