JCPOA diplomacy: Will Vienna talks unlock?

London, IRNA – President Hassan Rouhani’s term is counting down, as hopes for the talks in Vienna to revive the JCPOA is increasing in light of Iran’s diplomacy under the aegis of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Eyes are on the next round of talks in Vienna, Austria, as the two-month long intensive negotiations are reaching the final stop and the participants face difficult decisions.

Iran’s top negotiator Abbas Araghchi said yesterday after the sixth round of talks that all participants admitted that a great progress had been made, but they also acknowledged that there were some key issues that must be decided on in capitals.

He said that much of drafting has been done and the remaining part has a clear status. However, the remaining part depended on the parties’ will.

Iran’s stance hasn’t changed since the beginning of the talks, as it insists on verifiable removal of all US sanctions before Iran's reversing countermeasures taken to reciprocate US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or simply the JCPOA.

EU foreign policy chief’s deputy Enrique Mora made similar remarks after the Joint Commission of the JCPOA convened yesterday to conclude the sixth round of talks, saying that representatives would return to their capitals to make a final decision.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 between Iran and six world powers, but former US President Donald Trump ceased US participation, putting the deal in a weak position while other participants fully supported it.

The Trump administration, then, resumed all sanctions against Iran and added many more, while Iran adopted a patience strategy for one year before it reduced its compliance to the limitations set by the deal to reciprocate US violation of the deal terms.

Iran waited out the Trump administration until Joe Bide won 2020 US presidential election, promising to return to the JCPOA. However, the Biden administration has yet to take the first step as it was the US which first violated the deal.

Iran welcomed the Bide administration’s remarks on possible return to the deal, but it has insisted that the US must verifiably remove all the restored and newly imposed sanctions by the Trump administration after leaving the JCPOA.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said that the US cannot reach through negotiation the goals it failed to achieve through economic war.

Zarif suggested that there was a good possibility that a deal would be reached before the current administration in Iran leaves office.

Iran held its 13th presidential election on June 18, where Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi was elected president. Raisi would assume office in early August.

Elsewhere, Russia’s envoy in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov expressed hope that the next round of talks to be held two weeks later would be the final round and there would hopefully be a deal on the table.

President Rouhani made Iran’s nuclear issue its first priority in diplomacy when the issue was referred to the UN Security Council where it was recognized as a threat to international security.

Rouhani's administration managed to broker a deal with 6 world powers and gained great advantages for Iran while many experts believed that Iran couldn’t do it without giving painful concessions.

Iran’s Ambassador to London and a member of the negotiating team Hamid Baeidinejad said that unlike many would think that the JCPOA was only an economic deal, it was in fact a deal that further removed the label of security threat from Iran’s nuclear program.

Rouhani's administration expects to conclude Vienna talks and make a deal that is totally in line with Iran’s interests before the new president in Iran assumes office.

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