Iranian oil exports at center of Vienna nuclear talks, senior Iranian diplomat says

Aspokesperson for the foreign ministry of dds Iran, delegate of the team

December 27 (Reuters)Iran’s main goal in the nuclear talks that resume in Austria on Monday will be the lifting of all US sanctions as part of a verifiable process that ensures Tehran’s unhindered ability to export its oil, the minister said. Iranian Foreign Minister.

Negotiations with world powers to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are scheduled to resume in Vienna at 6:00 p.m. (5:00 p.m. GMT), state media reported.

“The most important issue for us is to reach a point where, firstly, Iranian oil can be sold easily and unhindered,” Iranian media said, quoting Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

“Oil money (sales) must be deposited in foreign currency in Iranian banks – so that we can enjoy all the economic benefits stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed tough economic sanctions against Tehran, which responded a year later by resuming and then ramping up its uranium enrichment, a route potential towards nuclear weapons.

Oil exports, Iran’s main source of income, have plunged under US sanctions. Tehran is not releasing data, but estimates based on shipping and other sources suggest a drop from around 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018 to as low as 200,000 bpd. A survey put exports at 600,000 bpd in June.

The nuclear talks have made little progress since they resumed last month after a five-month hiatus following the election of radical Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“Today there is an acceptable joint document on the negotiating table that we call the December 1 and December 15 documents,” Amirabdollahian said. Both documents, he said, dealt with the nuclear issue as well as US sanctions.

“From today, our negotiations will start on the basis of this common document. Guarantees and verification are among the issues on the agenda, ”Amirabdollahian said.

The two Iranian draft texts, submitted on November 26 in Vienna, were modified versions of those drawn up in June under the previous Iranian administration.

As part of the 2015 deal, Iran curtailed its uranium enrichment program in return for relief from US, EU and UN economic sanctions. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

In the latest round of talks, senior British, French and German diplomats presented a pessimistic assessment of efforts to revive the deal. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said last week that the United States and its partners were discussing deadlines for nuclear diplomacy with Iran, adding that ongoing talks could be exhausted within weeks. .

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday that the Iranian side would not agree to any delay. A source close to the Iranian team told Reuters the delegation will stay in Vienna as long as necessary.

Iran’s nemesis Israel, which is not involved in the talks, said the main challenge was “to prevent a nuclear Iran”.

“Israel is not opposed to any deal,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Jerusalem on Monday.

“A good deal would be good. We oppose an agreement that does not allow real control over Iran’s nuclear program, or Iranian money, or the Iranian terrorist network.”

([email protected] Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem; editing by Nick Macfie)

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