Even before coming to power, US President Joe Biden has been hinting that the United States will be brought back to the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015. Even after taking office as president last January, he has publicly expressed interest in returning to the deal. However, he said that Iran must first comply with the terms of the agreement. On the other hand, Tehran has also countered by saying that Washington must take action first.
For the last two and a half months, such conditions have been being exchanged between the two countries. But no one is taking effective action. Representatives from Washington and Tehran are scheduled to travel to Vienna, the Austrian capital, next week, Reuters reported, citing sources. There is a possibility of indirect discussion between the two sides.
European diplomatic sources said on Friday (April 2nd) that representatives of Iran and the United States would not meet in the same room even if they were in the same city that day. However, in the presence of both, effective steps are expected to be taken to return to the nuclear deal.
In a statement, the European Union (EU) said participants in Vienna next week would discuss lifting sanctions on Tehran and reviving the nuclear deal.
Iran, China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Britain met on Friday. After the meeting, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that US representatives would not take part in any talks with Tehran in Vienna. But if Washington takes action, Iran will also consider the terms.
Earlier in 2016, the then US President Donald Trump brought the United States out of the nuclear deal. He then imposed sanctions on Iran in various areas, including the economy and weapons. But diplomatic analysts hope the problem will be resolved under the Biden administration.
The United States seized several oil tankers last year due to sanctions imposed on Iran. At that time huge amount of oil was confiscated. The United States has sold more than 1 million barrels of that oil, according to a US Justice Department official. Meanwhile, various sources have claimed that another Iranian ship has recently left for the United States with oil.
Last year, the Trump administration seized four Iranian tankers with more than 1.2 million barrels of gasoline. They allege that Iran was sending fuel oil to Venezuela in defiance of sanctions. All oil seized from Iranian tankers is shipped to other ships and taken to the United States for sale. The proceeds from the sale of the oil are meant to be donated to victims of state-sponsored terrorism. This is the largest seizure of Iranian fuel oil by the United States so far. U.S. Justice Department spokesman Mark Raymondi told Reuters this week that the seized Iranian oil had been sold. Now the US administration is working on the final cost.
He said an interconnected sale has secured the cash value of the seized petroleum, which is currently in the hands of the U.S. Marshals Service. The value of the seized gasoline is not known, but based on the benchmark price of European gasoline it could be in the tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile, the United States filed a lawsuit last week seeking the seizure of another ship.
That being said, the ship came from Iran, not Iraq, and violated U.S. terrorism rules. The last location of the Liberian-flagged tanker was found in the Caribbean Sea. It was destined for the coastal port of Galveston, Texas, and was due to arrive on February 15. Authorities in Houston and Galveston said they did not know about the tanker’s arrival and did not know who would take care of it.