The US and Iran are nearing a nuclear deal

Iranian negotiators under Mr. Raisi, the new president – who had criticized his predecessor Hassan Rouhani for being too soft – made an important concession to get things moving by agreeing to work on the basis of a draft treaty that was worked out with Mr Rouhani’s team, two people familiar with the talks said.

Under this deal, the US would lift all sanctions related to the nuclear deal (while maintaining sanctions on human rights and other issues) and Iran would return to its technical commitments related to its nuclear program under the old treaty. However, critical sticking points remain, e.g. B. what sanctions would be lifted and when and in return for what concrete actions by Iran, with a timetable to be determined for the sequence of steps.

Washington’s outlook was more cautious than Tehran’s. Two senior State Department officials noted some modest progress in the talks, gaining some more ground beyond where negotiations had stalled in June. But both officials, without going into detail, stressed that important issues still needed to be addressed. Meanwhile, patience is waning at the State Department.

“I’m not going to put a time limit on it or give you the number of yards left on the runway, other than to say, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be very, very, very short,'” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told reporters late last year.

While the United States could still offer Iran more sanctions relief, Mr Vaez of the International Crisis Group said officials in Tehran have failed to convince Western negotiators that they are serious about returning to full compliance with the 2015 deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian indicated that Iran may have watered down its initial call for all sanctions imposed after Mr Trump’s exit from the deal, including those related to human rights, to be lifted.

But in an interview with Al Jazeera last week, Mr Amir Abdollahian said that at this time in Vienna, Iran is “seeking the lifting of sanctions” relating only to the original nuclear deal and is aiming for the sanctions lifting at some point in the future to complete.

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