Iran’s nuclear program.. Moscow expects direct contacts between Washington and Tehran and is likely to reach an agreement within a month

Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations, Mikhail Ulyanov, expressed optimism about the pace of negotiations in Vienna, expecting an agreement to be reached at the end of next February.

Ulyanov announced that direct contacts on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the United States could be held soon.

The Russian official said – in an interview with Rossiya 24 channel – that if the negotiations continue at the pace they are now, it is quite realistic to reach an agreement by the end of next month.

He pointed out that the full resumption of the nuclear agreement requires another two months related to the lifting of sanctions and Tehran’s return to its commitments in the agreement.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said earlier that his country wanted to obtain comprehensive real guarantees, and to verify the lifting of sanctions during the Vienna negotiations.

In a briefing to Parliament’s National Security Committee, Abdollahian said that the talks had made progress despite the existence of outstanding issues.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that there is room for achieving any agreement “if the unjust sanctions are lifted on the Iranians”, after Washington expressed its willingness to communicate directly with Tehran regarding the negotiations on the nuclear file.

Raisi stressed that his country will continue negotiations to activate the nuclear agreement, but it will not link all issues with it.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar (left) met at the Iranian Foreign Ministry with his counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian (Reuters)

Qatar and Iran

Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rahman Al Thani arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and met at the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s headquarters, his counterpart Hussein Amir Abdullahian.

Iranian media reported that the two sides discussed bilateral and regional issues, and the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) showed video clips of the two ministers meeting in Tehran.

It is noteworthy that the visit of the Qatari minister to Tehran precedes an expected visit of the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to Washington next Monday.

A Qatari government official told AFP in Doha that “Qatar is trying to help revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the official name of the nuclear deal.

U.S. National security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks at a press briefing at the White House in WashingtonSullivan stressed that Washington is committed to diplomacy as the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon (Reuters)

Washington and Tel Aviv

In a related context, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Holata, discussed – in a phone call – regional developments, including progress in the Iranian nuclear program.

Sullivan stressed that the United States is committed to diplomacy as the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and at the same time it is preparing alternative options in coordination with its partners when diplomacy fails.

According to a White House statement, the remote meeting of the Joint Strategic Advisory Group discussed upcoming military exercises between the two parties.

The talks began in Vienna last April, and resumed starting in late November, after being suspended for 5 months.

Tehran is in talks with the powers that are still in the agreement, namely France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, with the diplomats of these countries, as well as the European Union, coordinating between the Iranian and American negotiators.

Iran has previously refused to have its negotiators sit at the same table with the American negotiators, given that Washington is no longer a party to the nuclear agreement, and its return to the negotiating table with others requires its return to the agreement.

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