|Today, Iran and the signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will meet in Vienna to resume a six-rounds talk exploring possibilities to restore the JCPOA deal. The delegations from Iran, the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, and the UK decided to halt the negotiations last June to allow the Islamic Republic to hold elections and President Ebrahim Raisi to form his cabinet. In Vienna, the parties will have to handle several knots caused by the US withdrawal from the deal three years ago and further complicated by the elections of a conservative President this year. Against this backdrop, Iran will likely present additional demands as conditions for returning to the negotiating table, while it remains uncertain how the Biden administration will address the issue. Encouraging signals over a possible detente between Iran and the international community come from Tehran, where the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, met with top Iranian officials for “intense” negotiations. Although only a few details of the talks were revealed, restoring cooperation between the IAEA and Iran would certainly be a significant diplomatic step, given the checkered levels of cooperation that recently characterized their relationship. Additionally, several domestic factors may influence the negotiations in Vienna. Both the US and the Iranian Presidents face domestic challenges, including the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. For his part, President Raisi is aware of the vital importance the lifting of US sanctions would have on the national economy.
Experts from the ISPI MED network react to the new round of talks on the Iranian nuclear programme.