VIENNA — Talks between Iran and global powers restarted Saturday with the goal of trying to restore the 2015 agreement to contain Iranian nuclear development that the Trump administration abandoned in 2018.
Senior diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia, and Britain planned to meet at a hotel in the Austrian capital.
Top Russian representative Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet that the talks would allow the participants to “exchange views on how to arrange further work in order to complete the negotiations successfully and expeditiously.”
The United States is not formally part of meetings that launched in Vienna earlier this year. But the administration of President Joe Biden has signaled willingness to rejoin the deal under terms that would broadly see the United States scale back sanctions and Iran return to abiding by the limits on its nuclear activity contained in the 2015 agreement.
The sixth round of the #ViennaTalks on full restoration of the #JCPOA will start in one hour. The members of the Joint Commission will exchange views on how to arrange further work in order to complete the negotiations successfully and expeditiously.
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) June 12, 2021
Diplomats say complicating factors include the sequence of the proposed measures, dealing with advances in Iran’s nuclear processing capability since the United States withdrew, and the presidential election in Iran next week.
The US Treasury Department said Thursday it was lifting sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies, in a move “unrelated” to the ongoing talks on the nuclear deal in Vienna.
At the same time, the Biden administration leveled sanctions against a Yemeni network that it claims was cooperating with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to illicitly transfer tens of millions of dollars to Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The nuclear accord is based on Iran limiting development of its nuclear program in return for the US and others lifting sanctions against Iran. Ongoing talks in Vienna have focused partly on timing of the US lifting sanctions and Iranians returning to compliance with the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.