The new working groups aim to create a roadmap for a synchronized return of the two countries to compliance. But even if there is agreement, the verification will take some time given the technical complications and lack of confidence on both sides.
For example, companies that want to do business with Iran, and that were badly burned when Mr. Trump reimposed powerful US sanctions, will want to be sure that a new administration will not reimpose the sanctions. Iran will want to see economic benefits, not just their promise, and the United States will want the International Atomic Energy Agency to make sure that Iran has returned to compliance and is not cheating, as it does. has done in the past.
In Vienna, Iran met the other current members of the agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, under the presidency of the European Union – in a large ballroom of a hotel, while that the US team, led by Special Envoy Robert Malley, worked separately at a nearby hotel. Iran refused to meet directly with the United States, so the Europeans undertook a kind of shuttle diplomacy.
The United States also wants to convince Iran to negotiate longer timeframes for the deal and to start new talks on limiting Iranian missiles and supporting Shiite allies and militias in the region, including in Syria. , Iraq and Lebanon. Iran has said it has no interest in considering further negotiations until the United States restores the status quo ante and joins the deal.
More broadly, U.S. officials are trying to determine whether the U.S. and Iran can agree on how each can come back into compliance with the nuclear deal – or, at least, work to close the gaps in a mutual understanding.
Iran was represented by Abbas Araghchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister, who was instrumental in negotiating the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, with the administration of President Barack Obama and Mr. Biden, then vice-president.
Mr. Araghchi said in a statement after the talks that the lifting of US sanctions would be “the first and most necessary step in relaunching the JCPOA.” The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully prepared to end its retaliatory nuclear activities and resume its full commitments as soon as possible. US sanctions are lifted and verified. “