Iran Talks Back at the Palais Coburg in Vienna

Published: May 25, 2018; 13:30 · (Vindobona)

The struggle for the prolongation of the nuclear agreement with Iran continues. On Tehran's initiative, the Joint Commission is meeting in Vienna at Palais Coburg to discuss measures to support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. Tehran wants to decide on compliance with the nuclear deal in the coming weeks.

At the Palais Coburg, Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif is to find solutions to save the nuclear agreement with EU representatives / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Department of State from United States [Public Domain]

For the first time, the discussions of the commission are taking place without the USA, which withdrew from the deal two weeks ago. The other signatories to the agreement are represented by diplomats.

On the Iranian side, these are the head of delegation Abbas Araghchi, who is serving as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator in talks with the P5+1, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Iran's compliance with the agreement for the second time on Thursday, after it had already done so in December last year (see below).

It is expected that Iran will once again promote the mutual economic benefits of the summer 2015 deal. In addition, the practical consequences of the US withdrawal will be discussed. These include the conversion of the Arak heavy water reactor and the procurement of parts for Iran's civil nuclear programme.

In the 2015 agreement, the international community undertook to lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic. In return, it should be ruled out that Iran develops nuclear weapons. The agreement has meant that Iran has had to drastically reduce its entire nuclear programme.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has asked his diplomats to negotiate with EU representatives to find a solution to save the agreement. Iran hopes to have drawn up a European offer by the end of May to get the EU to step in and buy Iranian oil.

If the deal fails, Iran's alternatives would be to phase out and start uranium enrichment without the limitation provided for in the agreement.

Statement on Iran by the IAEA Spokesperson

In December 2015, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano presented the Final Assessment on past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear programme to the IAEA Board of Governors.

In the report, the Agency assessed that, before the end of 2003, an organizational structure was in place in Iran suitable for the coordination of a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.

Although some activities took place after 2003, they were not part of a coordinated effort. The Agency’s overall assessment was that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place after 2003.

The Agency also assessed that these activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.

The same report stated that the Agency had no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009. Based on the Director General’s report, the Board of Governors declared that its consideration of this issue was closed.

In line with standard IAEA practice, the IAEA evaluates all safeguards-relevant information available to it. However, it is not the practice of the IAEA to publicly discuss issues related to any such information.