Timing of Sanctions Relief May Be Deal Breaker as Iran Talks Resume

VIENNA  (Reuters) -
Cameras stand in front of a luxury downtown hotel, where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place, in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Cameras stand in front of a luxury downtown hotel, where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place, in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

The timing of sanctions relief is the main sticking point in nuclear talks that resumed on Wednesday with a meeting between delegates from Iran and the European Union.

Arriving in Vienna, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi reiterated Iran’s position: “All the economic sanctions should be lifted on the day that the deal is implemented,” Iranian news agency Tasnim reported.

The United States says the sanctions would have to be phased out gradually.

Referring to concerns that the U.S. Congress might try to delay lifting sanctions, Araqchi told state media that President Barack Obama’s administration was “responsible to ensure that its commitments, particularly sanctions-related ones, are fulfilled”.

Iran and the other countries in the talks — China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States and Germany — reached a tentative deal on April 2 and now aim to finalize the details by a  self-imposed end-June deadline.

“We think it is possible to reach a fair and just agreement … by the end of June or even before that,” Araqchi said.