After Vienna meeting, Iran will continue talks to save nuclear deal

World Today

In Vienna, Iran said it will continue negotiations with countries from across Europe and with China on salvaging the Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. withdrew from the deal this month.

Tehran wants compensation to counter a White House plan to re-impose sanctions.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi has more on the talks.

Early Friday morning in Vienna, representatives of the U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China – the remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal – met with Tehran officials for talks on mitigating any fallout following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

A day earlier, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran is adhering to the accord. “The Director General of the IAEA came into the meeting and confirmed that once again that Tehran fully complies with its obligations under the deal,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control.

Officials at the special meeting of the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, said progress in Vienna had been substantial and that talks had put things back on track.

“We got the sense that Europeans, and Russia and China – as remaining participants to the JCPOA are serious. They recognized that the JCPOA’s survival depends on interests of Iran to be respected. They said that they understand that Iran’s normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran is an essential part of JCPOA,” explained Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister.

But the clock is ticking. Iranian President Seyed Abbas Araghchi wants guarantees from Iran’s partners. Iran wants a package of incentives on the table by the end of May. It also wants legal and political guarantees that ensure the deal’s survival without the United States involvement. But officials at Friday’s meeting said they can give NO guarantees at this point.

“Our Iranian colleagues are sincere. And we were given the impression that they for their part are to continue to safeguard the agreement. Although they indicate that that would perhaps take them about two to three weeks to finally decide if they will stay in the nuclear deal,” said Qun Wang, Director of General Arms Control at the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

There is much at stake and not just for Iran. Italy signed a six billion dollar investment with Iran at the beginning of this year. China and the EU are looking to ramp up crude oil exports from Iran.

The EU Commission last week said it was updating its “blocking statute.” It’s an old law from 1996 that would prohibit European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions on Iran. Once in place, that could help the EU in particular give Iran the guarantees it’s looking for. But a formal process like that takes time. Officials said it’s unlikely to be in place by the end of May.

Edmund Ghareeb on Vienna talks to save Iran nuclear deal

For more on Iran’s negotiations with world powers to salvage a nuclear deal, CGTN’s Mike Walter talked with Edmund Ghareeb.He’s a former professor at American University, and a scholar and middle east expert.