Negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will resume in Vienna today, attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and Iran.
Today’s discussions come amidst concerns that the JCPOA could become irrelevant within weeks if Iran continues to ramp up its nuclear activity. Skepticism is high as Iran has advanced its nuclear program since 2019, a year after the US unilaterally withdrew from the deal and re-imposed sanctions.
US negotiator Rob Malley has warned of a “period of escalating crisis” if soft-diplomacy efforts fail to restore the deal.
Iran has indicated that it wants all sanctions imposed by the US as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign repealed—a move Western colleagues have called unrealistically maximalist. However, we may see this position left behind because Russia and China are pressuring Iran by illuminating the unlikelihood of lifting sanctions and threats from the EU and US to abandon the discussions.
As it is not typical to conduct such talks in the week between Christian Christmas and the calendar new year, the timing of these discussions indicates a common urgency among the parties to the treaty. However, a deal in the short-term is unlikely barring Iran change its positions.
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Laura is a research analyst on the Current Developments team. Presently undertaking a Juris Doctor, her areas of expertise include human rights and international law. Laura contributes to the daily brief, typically on matters within Europe and the Asia-Pacific.