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Iran’s Rouhani: Agreement reached on ‘major issues like sanctions’ at nuclear talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2021. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2021. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says nuclear deal talks in Vienna have yielded agreement on “major issues like sanctions,” while other issues remained under discussion.

“We have taken a major and big step and the main agreement has been done,” Rouhani says.

According to the Bloomberg financial outlet, the sanctions to be dropped are those affecting oil, banking and shipping.

Rouhani gives an optimistic assessment of the ongoing talks to resuscitate his country’s nuclear deal with world powers, claiming there has been “major” agreement among diplomats even as other nations involved suggested challenges remain.

Specifics have been few from weeks of talks in Vienna, which aim to see Iran return to the limits the deal impose and the US drop the sanctions it imposed after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the deal in 2018.

Iran refuses to engage in any direct talks with the US, however. Tehran now enriches small quantities of uranium to 60% purity, its highest level ever, maintains an ever-growing stockpile of lower-enriched uranium and operates advanced centrifuges — all things prohibited by the accord.

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency faces a looming deadline with Iran over its inspections of Tehran’s nuclear sites. It reached a temporary deal with Iran in February to ensure inspections continued, though Iran stopped allowing it to access footage recorded on cameras monitoring its nuclear sites.

Iran vowed to hold onto the footage for three months, but warned it would erase it if sanctions relief didn’t come. That three-month deadline expires either Friday under the Gregorian calendar or Monday under the Persian calendar.

The IAEA says Thursday it “and Iran are currently in consultations regarding the implementation of the existing understanding.”

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