Iran president: ‘Main agreement’ made with world powers to lift sanctions
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday said that Tehran and other world powers are in agreement that sanctions on his country will be lifted as negotiations continue over reentry into the Obama-era nuclear deal.
Rouhani said that a “main agreement” has been reached after indirect talks between Iran and the U.S. over how to revive the 2015 nuclear deal took a “major step,” according to state media.
Former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the pact in 2018.
The negotiations, taking place through European intermediaries in Vienna, are still focusing on “details and finer points” before there’s “a final agreement.”
The remarks come after the latest round of talks ended Wednesday, with negotiators saying that progress had been made in restoring the nuclear deal.
A potential deal marks the most tangible sign of progress in the weeks-long talks, which had been hung up on how to return Washington and Tehran to compliance with the nuclear pact.
Washington had maintained that Iran must return its uranium enrichment to the limits the deal set out, but Tehran said that sanctions that were applied when Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal must first be lifted before it makes any changes to its nuclear program.
Responding to Rouhani’s remarks, a State Department spokesperson did not say if a deal had been reached but said that sanctions remained a point of negotiations.
“As we have said, any substantial move by the U.S. would have to be part of a process in which both sides take actions, and there are many challenges remaining,” the spokesperson said. “The precise nature of the sanctions-related steps that the United States would need to take to achieve this objective is a subject of the talks.”
The two sides are staring down an informal deadline of June 18, when Iran will hold presidential elections. Observers had speculated that Tehran would be increasingly reluctant to make a deal the closer it gets to that date.
Rouhani has served the maximum two terms as president and is barred from running for reelection.
The alleviation of sanctions on various Iranian sectors, particularly its oil industry, will be a massive boon to its struggling economy. An analysis from Citigroup predicted that the U.S. would likely permit Tehran to boost exports by 500,000 barrels a day from the middle of the third quarter, according to Bloomberg News.