China and Russia Optimistic Over Iran Talks as Biden Envoy Sulks on Sidelines

The governments of China and Russia, which appear to be taking the lead in talks between Iran and the remaining partners in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, expressed optimism after talks concluded on Friday for the week that progress had occurred.

The conversations over the agreement formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) began this week in Vienna, Austria. Representatives from China, Russia, and Iran — as well as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany — met to discuss, they claimed, a way to repair what remains of the agreement after years of violations by Tehran and President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from it in 2018. Notably absent from the invitation list was the United States, which had no formal representation in this week’s talks.

The administration of President Joe Biden claimed it would engage in “indirect” talks with Iran and sent its special envoy on the matter, Robert Malley, to Vienna. Iranian officials clarified Tuesday, however, that “no negotiations will take place between the representatives of Iran and the United States” and no talks of any kind, direct or otherwise, would take place this week.

Malley is staying in a separate hotel in Vienna from where the Iran deal talks are occurring and appears to have met only with officials not privy to the negotiations, including representatives of the Austrian government and the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

With no input from Washington, Iran has used the talks to vocally and repeatedly insist that it will not begin to discuss returning to compliance on the JCPOA with the United States unless the Biden administration immediately lifts all sanctions on Iran, not just those regarding the nuclear weapons issue. This would presumably include the accurate branding of Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism due to its international support of Hezbollah, a Shiite jihadist organization, and its involvement in deadly attacks on civilians such as the 1994 bombing of Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. (Read more from “China and Russia Optimistic Over Iran Talks as Biden Envoy Sulks on Sidelines” HERE)

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