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Iran: “Main Agreement” On Lifting Of U.S. Sanctions Reached

Global powers taking part in the indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on a return to the nuclear agreement have accepted that the U.S. sanctions on Iran, including on its oil exports, will be removed, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying on Thursday.

“The main agreement has been made,” Rouhani said, according to Iranian state television, Bloomberg reports.

The talks in Vienna involving the United States, Iran, and the remaining participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have taken a “major step,” and diplomats are now discussing “details and finer points” before “a final agreement,” Rouhani added.   

The U.S. and Iran have been holding indirect talks in Vienna since last month on possible ways for both countries to return to the deal. U.S. President Joe Biden has signaled a willingness to return to the nuclear deal, but only if Iran returns to full compliance in its nuclear activities.

Iran, for its part, has said it would start complying with the nuclear deal only after the U.S. lifts the sanctions on Tehran.

Oil prices dropped on Thursday after Rouhani was quoted that “the main agreement” had been reached.  

But Mikhail Ulyanov, Representative of Russia to International Organizations in Vienna, who leads the Russian delegation at the talks, tweeted early on Thursday that “It is obvious now that the Vienna talks on #JCPOA will not be completed by May 21 as the participants hoped. Regrettable but not dramatic. May 21 wasn’t a deadline but a target date. It helped us not to forget about time pressure. The talks will continue until successful outcome.”

Earlier this week, a report emerged of a breakthrough in the talks, sending oil prices down on Tuesday right after Brent briefly crossed the $70 a barrel mark. It was later clarified that there had been no breakthrough.

Iran is already preparing to boost production and exports of oil, government officials said this week, as quoted by Bloomberg. Iran also looks to begin as soon as next month crude oil exports from the Jask terminal on the Sea of Oman, without the need to have tankers travel through the Strait of Hormuz, Masoud Karbasian, chief executive of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said on Wednesday.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com  

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