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27 Apr, 2021 16:55

Iran nuclear deal talks participants have 'decided to expedite the process' of full return to 2015 agreement, Russian envoy says

Iran nuclear deal talks participants have 'decided to expedite the process' of full return to 2015 agreement, Russian envoy says

Negotiations aimed at bringing the US and Iran back into the 2015 nuclear deal continued apace in Vienna on Tuesday, as Russia's top official at the talks said all parties wanted a full restoration of the agreement.

Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), spoke positively of the meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

"The discussions proved that participants are guided by this unity of purpose, which is full restoration of the nuclear deal in its original form. It was decided to expedite the process," Ulyanov said in statement.

His comments come after reports that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, had alleged Russia aimed to derail the negotiations.

The Associated Press claimed to have reviewed a leaked recording of Zarif giving an interview to an Iranian think tank in which he apparently said Moscow was frustrating the diplomatic process.

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Russia has not commented publicly on the claims, while Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has said the recording was "illegal."

Indirect negotiations between Iran and the US to revive the JCPOA were paused last Tuesday to allow delegations to report back to their governments after countries reported initial "progress" in the talks.

The other parties to the deal – China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and EU – have acted as mediators between Tehran and Washington.

Under the original JCPOA, Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief from Washington and European governments.

However, Iran began breaching its commitments under the deal after then US President Donald Trump pulled America out of the agreement and chose to revert to tougher sanctions.

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At the fresh round of talks on Tuesday, participants agreed on a "fast and intensive" approach to the "removal of sanctions" and "nuclear issues," Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Two working groups have been set up to tackle those issues, and a third will now be created to facilitate talks on the practical arrangements for the removal of sanctions and the US return to the JCPOA, the ministry added.

The US has consistently refused to lift sanctions on Iran until it returns to its commitments under the JCPOA.

Tehran has likewise called on Washington to make concessions before Iran acts, putting the two countries in a stalemate.

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