Iran nuclear talks to reconvene next week following breakthrough

US-Iran indirect nuclear talks to reconvene next week after 'promising' start
3 min read
09 April, 2021
So far, the two sides have agreed to the establishment of working groups to monitor Iran's nuclear activities and US' lifting of sanctions.

There is a real potential for both parties to re-enter the nuclear deal [Getty]
Washington DC, The New Arab - The US snd Iran will continue meeting next week after concluding the first week of talks in Vienna on Friday. These preliminary steps, which began on Tuesday, appear to indicate that there is a real potential for both parties to re-enter the nuclear deal in the near future. 

"The talks ended on a promising note today. It means they made enough progress to reconvene next week," Sina Toossi, senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council, told The New Arab.

"This is as good an outcome as could be expected from indirect talks," said James Devine, associate professor of politics and international relations at Mount Allison University.

So far, the two sides have agreed to the establishment of two working groups; one to monitor Iran's pledge to restrict its enrichment of uranium, and the other to ensure the US lifts sanctions on Iran referenced in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] signed under former US President Barack Obama and Iran's outgoing leader Hassan Rouhani, when Joe Biden was vice president.

The US has already said it is prepared to lift sanctions inconsistent with the nuclear deal. 

"It was definitely a breakthrough this week," said Toossi. "This was the first time since the US left the deal that there were American diplomats present."

On Friday morning, at 10 a.m. CET, the parties reviewed the progress of the joint commission, represented by signatories to the deal.

"The issue is how both sides will get back into compliance," said Toossi, noting that reversing sanctions with a "terrorism" designation could be politically difficult for the US.

"Biden could be labeled 'soft on terrorism'," Devine said, adding that "he will have a lot of pushback". 

"He may be able to push through the deal, but it could cost him politically. If he can't get the deal through and defend it to the US population, it could do difficult for him to get re-elected." 

Read also: What to expect from US-Iran indirect talks in Vienna

Aside from domestic pressure facing the US and Iran, Israel is also a factor to consider.

"If Israel lashes out at Iran, I can't see Iran staying in the negotiations," said Devine, though noting that the recent Israeli attack on the Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea doesn't seem to have affected the negotiations, possibly a sign of its commitment to the deal. 

"It’s a good outcome, but there are still a lot of hurdles to clear."

Brooke Anderson is The New Arab's correspondent in Washington D.C., covering US and international politics, business and culture.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected