The United States and Iran will return to Vienna on April 6, where the nuclear deal was signed in 2015: the first concrete progress in trying to salvage the agreement abandoned by Donald Trump three years ago and which Joe Biden promised to resuscitate. While no direct meeting between the Americans and Iranians is envisaged, indirect talks through the other powers involved in the agreement are an important step.
The dialogue will focus on how Washington and Tehran can simultaneously return to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, some by removing the sanctions of the Trump era and others by respecting the commitments on uranium enrichment (after the US withdrawal from the agreement, the Iranians have increased both the quantity and the quality of stocks). The talks focus on returning to the original understanding, not on Tehran’s missile program or its role in the region that the US and Europe also aim to address in the future. US officials assure al New York Times that they do not intend to keep part of the Trump sanctions and that the maximum pressure strategy has failed.
The other signatories – Iran, France, Germany, Russia, Great Britain and China, plus the EU – will meet without the United States, to begin defining a road map. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif specified that there is no planned meeting with the US: No need, the aim of quickly finalizing the removal of sanctions and nuclear measures, for a choreographed elimination of all sanctions, after which Iran will put an end to corrective measures. The question what will be the choreography of the road map? The Americans have so far proposed reciprocal gradual steps which have been read by Iran as bearish offers. Iranians suggest a quick and understanding approach (keyword in Zarif’s tweet). Both countries demand the first move from the other. It is not a technical problem but a political one: of trust, priority and climate at home.
April 2, 2021 (change April 2, 2021 | 23:27)