(News Desk) – Experts from the six remaining signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement have gathered in Tehran for their second meeting since the United States chose to unilaterally leave the multilateral accord.
Delegates from Iran and other parties to the deal – Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – held discussions behind closed doors in Tehran on Thursday over the future of the now six-party agreement, officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). European Union experts were also taking part in the negotiations.
The latest session of the JCPOA’s Joint Commission had taken place on May 25, weeks after US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the deal and said nuclear-related sanctions would be re-imposed on Tehran.
According to the ISNA news agency, the participants in Thursday’s talks sought to work out a mechanism to both go ahead with the deal’s implementation without the US and help Iran collect all the economic dividends of the JCPOA when the American bans return.
AFP also cited a diplomatic source as saying, “It is one of the technical meetings that are held regularly,” and that it would focus on economic issues.
The EU and all the remaining parties to the JCPOA – now known as the P4+1 — have censured Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the international document, which was inked in July 2015 and endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution.
Iran’s partners, particularly the Europeans, have been scrambling to keep the deal in place, vowing that they would remain committed to the agreement despite Washington’s pullout.
Tehran has, in turn, said it would stay in the JCPOA for now, but will wait for the outcome of its fresh negotiations with the other signatories before coming up with a decision over its future role in the deal. It wants guarantees from the European sides that its interests would still be protected under a deal without the US.
In parallel with its efforts to save the deal, Iran has been preparing for a potential failure of the deal after Washington’s walkout. The country announced the launch of a plan on Tuesday to boost its uranium enrichment capacity with new centrifuges while respecting the limits set by the JCPOA.
After pulling out of the Iran deal, Washington began threatening European firms with punitive measures in case they refused to stop dealing with Tehran.
US threats have already scared a number of those firms out of the Iranian market.
In mid-May, the European Commission, which acts as the EU’s executive body, rushed to block the American bans against Iran by activating its Blocking Statute, which makes it illegal for any EU company to comply with US sanctions.
On Wednesday, foreign ministers from the UK, France, Germany and the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, jointly wrote to the US, urging Washington not to go ahead with its planned “secondary sanctions” against European firms doing business in Iran.