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Iran negotiator: Based on hitherto agreements, US sanctions against oil and banks would be lifted



Iran’s main nuclear negotiator said on Saturday that Tehran expects US sanctions against oil, banks and other sectors and against most individuals and institutions to be lifted based on agreements reached so far during talks in Vienna, Iranian state media reported.

Russia and Western European powers, meanwhile, gave a contrasting account of the task ahead in the negotiations to bring Iran and the United States fully back in line with the 201

5 nuclear deal, which was postponed for six days.

“Sanctions … against Iran’s energy sector, which includes oil and gas, or cases against the car industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, should all be lifted on the basis of agreements reached so far,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by Iranian state media.

Araqchi did not say under what mechanism sanctions would be lifted or referred to how Tehran would meet Washington’s demands and return to its obligations under the agreement.

“We will negotiate until the positions of the two sides come closer and our demands are met,” he said. “If they are met, there will be an agreement, if not there will obviously be no agreement.”

The U.S. State Department had no immediate comment on Araqchi’s remarks.

President Joe Biden is seeking to return to the deal after Washington withdrew in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump and reintroduced sanctions against Tehran. Iran responded from 2019 onwards by violating many of the agreement’s limits to its nuclear activities.

Negotiations began last month in Vienna with the remaining parties to the agreement – Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – who met in the basement of a luxury hotel and the United States based at another hotel across the street. Iran has refused to hold direct meetings with US officials.

“We have a lot of work and some time left. Against that background, we would have hoped for more progress this week,” senior diplomats from the so-called E3 – France, Britain and Germany – said in a statement.

Officials have said they hope to reach an agreement by May 21, when an agreement between Tehran and UN nuclear weapons on continued surveillance of some Iranian nuclear activities expires. Read more

“We have not yet reached an understanding on the most critical points. Success is by no means guaranteed, but not impossible,” they added.

‘UNCLEAR PLACE’

U.S. Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday that the talks were “in a vague place,” meaning it was uncertain whether they would lead to an agreement. Read more

“We should not expect breakthroughs in the coming days,” Russia’s ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, Mikhail Ulyanov, told reporters after a meeting with the remaining parties, which concluded the third round of talks and added that talks would resume on Friday.

“We simply need to continue the diplomatic, daily work, and we have every reason to expect that the result (the final result) will be successful, and it will come very soon in a few weeks,” said Ulyanov, who is one of the more optimistic voices during the talks.

The break in negotiations was widely expected as diplomats said officials from several countries are also involved in the group of seven foreign ministers in London, which begins on Monday and ends on Wednesday.

In his remarks, Araqchi said that “There are individuals and institutions that have been specifically sanctioned and their (US) list is long. The conversation on the list is still ongoing”. He added that under what had been agreed so far, more than a majority on the list would have the sanctions lifted.

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