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Iran Set To Return To Nuclear Deal

NEW DELHI: There could be daylight in the nearly year-long negotiations over Iran’s re-entry into the 2015 nuclear agreement. On Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister hinted that “We have inched to an agreement closer than ever” and called upon the US not to make “new and unfitting demands”. The Fars News Agency quoted the German foreign ministry spokesman as saying the draft of the final text of the agreement was ready. There are indications the US will remove the Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of terror entities.

The icing on the block was the release of Nazneen Radcliffe, a UK citizen of Iranian origin who has spent years in Tehran’s prison system for alleged espionage. She’s returned to England along with another detainee. Her release was linked to the return of $530 million of Iranian money held in British banks.

The key question is when the parties will announce an agreement and bring an end to a contentious and unhappy past. Here’s a timeline of key developments.

May 2018

Former President Donald Trump abandons the JCPOA calling it “defective.” Reinstates US sanctions on Iran

January 5, 2020

Iran abandons all its JCPOA commitments following the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, Quds Force Commander in Baghdad airport.

January 1, 2021

Iran informs IAEA it will enrich uranium up to 20%. This is well beyond the threshold set up by the 2015 JCPOA.

February 23, 2021

Iran stops IAEA from carrying out short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities.

April 7, 2021

First round of talks between Iran and the P4+1 nations to resolve nuclear deadlock begin in Vienna, Austria

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November 29, 2021

Vienna talks resume after five-month hiatus

January 3, 2022

Vienna talks resume. Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri states that there has been “relatively satisfactory progress.”

March 11, 2022

Pause in talks because of “external factors.” The pause comes after escalating tensions between the Kremlin and the White House.

“A pause in the Vienna Talks is needed, due to external factors. A final text is essentially ready and on the table. As coordinator, I will, with my team, continue to be in touch with all JCPOA participants and the U.S. to overcome the current situation and to close the agreement.”

—- European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell

March 15, 2022

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirms receiving written guarantees from Washington that Russian-Iran business will not be affected over Ukraine.

“Reassured that Russia remains onboard for the final agreement in Vienna. More than ever, ball is in US court to provide the responses needed for successful conclusion of the talks.”

— Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian