Europeans, China and Russia seek Wednesday to find common ground with Iran on its nuclear program, in their first meeting since the launch of proceedings against Tehran, accused of violating the 2015 agreement, which offers Iran the lifting of part of the international sanctions in exchange for guarantees intended to prove the exclusively civilian nature of its nuclear program.
The historic Vienna agreement has been seriously threatened since the United States unilaterally denounced it in 2018. Tehran, asphyxiated by sanctions, has responded by releasing itself from several of its commitments since May 2019 every two months , recalls the American NGO Arms Control Association.
Europeans consider that the violations decided on by the Iranian authorities are not yet all irreversible, however. So far, Iran has said it will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), allowing inspectors to gain access to the declared facilities.
Oil purchases to limit the impact of sanctions
This meeting is taking place in Vienna, Austria, at the level of political directors within the framework of the joint commission, the discussion body provided for by the Iranian nuclear agreement. The meeting is chaired by Helga Schmid, file specialist with the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell. Besides Iran, it brings together representatives from China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
The parties must try to find a solution before deciding whether to submit it to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The lack of conciliation can lead to the reinstatement by the UN Security Council of all the sanctions that had been lifted under the Vienna agreement, but the Europeans assure that this is not their objective.
Iran is demanding in particular purchases of oil to limit the economic impact of the American sanctions. In return, Tehran could “at least freeze its uranium stocks,” the diplomat said. Tehran currently produces enriched uranium at a rate above the threshold of 3.67% set by the agreement and no longer meets the limit of 300 kilos imposed on its stocks of enriched uranium.
In the coming days, the Vienna-based IAEA is to hand over to its member countries the results of its latest inspections on Iran’s technical capabilities and the stockpile of enriched uranium.