Revival of the 2015 Nuclear Deal: talks to continue in Vienna despite Middle East Tension


JCPOA talks in Vienna - 2021

Although Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, avoided visiting Vienna, the Austrian capital, in protest against the European nation’s sympathy towards Israel, the team involved in talks to revive the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal, are to stay in the city.

Mr Zarif cited the display of Israeli flag on the top of a prominent Austrian building for the cancellation of his visit at the eleventh hour; he continued to visit Spain as planned, though.

The Iranian team involved in the talks over the nuclear deal, however, are going to stay in Vienna and continue talks with the signatories of the JCPOA.

They had fourth round of talks last week and the speculations were ripe that a breakthrough was imminent; the rising tension in the Middle East, however, may have hampered the progress in a few ways, as Iran is known as a strong supporter of the Hamas.

In another development, Iranian media is very critical of major Sunni Arab states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia for not taking a strong stand against Israel; it just accuses them of paying lip service, to be precise.

There were moves recently to restore strained ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia; although the latter was more keen than the former to reset the ties, the former was cautiously optimistic about the prospect of a sustainable success; with the recent military developments in the region, the chasm between the two nation could only grow wider or even to the extent where it was a few months back; the Iranian media just reflects the mood of the higher echelons of the Iranian administration.

Some analysts believe that Saudi Arabia made the peace overtures, having come under constant drone and missile attacks from Iran-backed Houthis. The talks between the two countries – and back-door communications before that – do not appear to have produced any meaningful results; Houthis targeted the Kingdom again, this week using their deadly combination of explosive-laden drones and missiles.

Although Iran condemn Israel against its attacks in the Gaza strip, it exercises restraint not to jeopardize the on-going talks over the nuclear deal; nor does it want to upset the US unnecessarily for  trivial point-scoring within its sphere of influence in the region.

Iran cannot let go of this opportunity either, having suffered tremendously under the US sanctions. The outbreaks of the Coronavirus made the economic situation worse and the need of petro-dollars has never been higher.

In all probability, the situation in the Gaza will settle down in a few more days and the revival of the JCPOA – and the arrival of Iranian oil into the markets – is more realistic than it has been in the past three years.

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