May 3, 2021, 11:08 AM
Journalist ID: 1843
News Code: 84316819
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Steps forward both in JCPOA talks, regional diplomacy

Tehran, May 3, IRNA – Iran pursues progress both in nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria and in diplomacy-building with regional countries in a bid to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and improve relations with Arab littoral states of the Persian Gulf.

Recent regional tour to four countries by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Saudi Arabia’s readiness to normalize ties with the Islamic Republic are in line with reinforcing diplomacy in the region.

The Joint Commission meetings of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) continued at different political levels among the P4+1 group (Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) and Iran in Vienna. 

According to the European Union’s Saturday communique, the current round of talks focuses on the potential return of the United States to the JCPOA and the implementation of the deal fully and effectively. The negotiators decided to hold talks on practical implementation of lifting sanctions ahead of the US’s return to the nuclear agreement; therefore, they formed a third expertise group called “expert group of executive arrangements” to pursue this objective.

The negotiators also struck a deal to speed up activities on lifting of sanctions and nuclear issues. Given the complications of sanctions, more negotiations are needed in this respect. It is worth mentioning that an agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is coming to an end; so, erosive negotiations will be very risky.

In February, the IAEA and Iran struck a deal that cameras of the international agency can continue monitoring activities at Iran’s main nuclear facilities, but the IAEA’s inspectors can reach the videos if there would be a kind of agreement between Tehran and the P4+1, otherwise the Islamic Republic will delete the videos.

Bloomberg quoted two European officials on condition of anonymity as saying that the world powers want to revive the JCPOA until the end of May, adding that the US and Iran have had progress in reaching an agreement, but there is a long path ahead to strike a deal.
According to a bill ratified by Iran’s parliament dubbed the Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Protect Iranian Nation's Interests, the administration is obliged to decrease its nuclear-related commitments; therefore, it has halted voluntarily implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since February 23, 2021.

Many experts and even signatories to the JCPOA are of the opinion that the fate of the deal should be determined until May 22. 
Moreover, concurrent with the nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Iran pursues active diplomacy in the region. FM Zarif has visited Iraq, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. 

Authorities in Riyadh and Tehran have expressed their readiness to normalize ties. For example, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomed improvement of relations with Iran in an unprecedented remark, which has been welcomed by the Iranian authorities.

Political observers believe that the obvious rotation by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states is not irrelevant to hopes for fruitful nuclear talks in Vienna. Most likely, following several talks with the Biden administration, the Arab authorities have reached the conclusion that the JCPOA will revive; then, they try to amend their relationships with Tehran.

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