"There's a better atmosphere since Christmas -- before Christmas, I was very pessimistic," Josep Borrell, European Union foreign policy chief, stated on Friday. "Today, I believe reaching an accord is possible," he added after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in France.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said previous during the week that "all parties" have made an effort aimed to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement and so far had resulted in "good progress" at Vienna talks. Sergei Ryabkov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, decreed that the negotiations have been "accelerated" and "the chances of reaching a solution have risen."
On the other hand, according to Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Foreign Minister, during talks next to Borrell on Friday, Vienna talks were progressing "much too slowly to be able to reach a result." Ali Vaez, Iran specialist at the International Crisis Group, highlighted that connections between Iran and Western powers are "sanctions relief, guarantees that the US will never again renege,... (and) the degree to which Iran has to roll back its nuclear program."
References to verifying sanctions have been lifted, he said this would be "possible in two areas: Iran's oil exports and its ability to repatriate the generated oil revenues and frozen assets." "There is no guarantee that any US administration can provide that would bind the hands of its successor," he stated.
Vaez considers that the Biden administration "can and should provide assurances that companies that engage the Iranian market are immune to US penalties as long as Iran is in compliance with the deal."
"The West wants Iran to destroy its advanced centrifuges," he said, referring to how they handle the physical evidence of Iran's increased nuclear activity, and the uranium enriched above JCPOA limits "will either have to be shipped to Russia or blended down."
For lack of progress in the Vienna talks to rescue the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Tehran keeps its word: the Uranium enrichment program will continue until the US is forced to eliminate all sanctions against the Persian state. pic.twitter.com/QdPTsdsSg5