Iran insists on exporting crude in the framework of nuclear negotiations

Iran insisted on Monday that the United States and its allies agree to allow Tehran to export its crude as part of the resumption of negotiations in Vienna to restore the nuclear deal.

The comments from Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian are a sign that the Iranians are making their position clear ahead of negotiations on reviving the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The talks were suspended a few weeks ago after a round marked by tensions around the new demands of Tehran.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Amirabdollahian said Iran wants the next round of negotiations to focus on achieving “the point where Iranian crude is easily and unimpededly sold and its money reaches Iran’s bank accounts.”

Tehran’s landmark deal with world powers granted the nation sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its nuclear program. But in 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the treaty and imposed heavy sanctions against Iran, including against its oil sector, which is a vital part of its economy. Iran’s crude exports fell and international oil companies ended the agreements with Tehran, affecting its economy.

As the parties involved in the 2015 nuclear deal prepare to meet in Vienna, Amirabdollahian said Iran wanted “to be able to enjoy all the economic concessions of the nuclear deal.”

“The guarantee and verification (of the elimination of sanctions) are some of the issues we have focused on,” he said.

The new and conservative government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has repeatedly demanded that all economic sanctions be removed before Iran halts its nuclear advances.

Iran has abandoned all boundaries of the deal since the United States abandoned it and is currently enriching uranium to 60% purity, a short technical step from weapons-grade levels. It spins increasingly advanced centrifuges, also prohibited by the agreement.

The negotiations involve all parties to the original nuclear deal – Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. Iran refuses to speak directly to a US envoy, who participates through the other members.

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