Russian, Iranian top diplomats discuss situation around nuclear deal

The situation around the Iran nuclear deal in the context of the Vienna talks that were resumed in December 2021 was the focus of a telephone conversation between Russian and Iranian Foreign Ministers, Sergey Lavrov and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.

"The ministers discussed the situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program in the context of the eighth round of talks on the restoration of the nuclear deal in its original well-balanced form that was approved by the United Nations Security Council, which were resumed on December 27, 2021," the ministry said.

The sides also discussed bilateral relations and future political contacts.

According to earlier reports, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will visit Russia at the beginning of 2022 at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation.

The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has had seven offline meetings in Vienna since April to find ways to restore the nuclear deal in its original form. The sides discussed prospects for the United States’ possible return to the deal, steps needed to ensure full compliance with the deal’s terms by Iran, and issues of lifting the anti-Iranian sanctions.

The seventh round of talks on the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal finished in Vienna on December 17. It was noted that the parties want to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program in its original edition.

The eighth round of talks kicked off on December 27, 2021. It is expected to be the last one as the negotiators are set to finish the work by early February.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (Russia, the United Kingdom, China, the United States and France) and Germany in 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertook to curb its nuclear activities and place them under the total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for the abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

The future of the deal was called into question after the United States’ unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and Washington’s unilateral oil export sanctions against Teheran. Iran argued that all the other participants, Europeans in the first place, were ignoring some of their own obligations in the economic sphere, thus making the deal in its current shape senseless. This said it began to gradually scale down its commitments under the deal.

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