On Dec. 27, the eighth round of negotiations in Vienna to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal commenced. Claims of progress have been made. However, what has been described as “difficult decisions” are still hindering the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the accord is formally known. The previous seventh round ended with Iran and the P4+1 (Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) disagreeing on at least 10 out of 12 elements of negotiation. At the time, the E3 (Britain, France, and Germany) and the US made pessimistic remarks regarding Iran’s draft texts on nuclear commitments and sanctions lifting. The ongoing talks aim to reach consensus on at least eight elements of contention. Of note, the US delegation has so far not had any direct meeting with Iranian representatives.
The regional scenario
Signed by Iran and world powers in 2015, the JCPOA has been in disarray since the US in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the deal and reimposed all sanctions. The accord’s failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program was amongst the cited motives for the Donald Trump administration’s withdrawal. In response, the Islamic Republic has gradually adopted a series of escalatory measures, including an increase in the level and scale of uranium enrichment. Moreover, UN inspectors have seen a reduction in their enhanced access to Iranian nuclear facilities...
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