The Biden government has signaled that it is open to easing sanctions against critical elements of Iran’s economy, including oil and finance, helping to narrow differences in nuclear negotiations, according to people familiar with the matter.
Despite the progress, senior diplomats have warned that weeks of difficult negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal are yet to come and progress remains fragile. Negotiations in Vienna are complicated by domestic politics in Washington and Tehran and Iran’s refusal to meet directly with the US
President Biden wants to return to the 2015 deal after former President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018. The U.S. decision to withdraw from the deal and impose comprehensive sanctions on Iran has prompted Tehran to violate many of the deal’s main restrictions, returning to the deal difficult provisions and boundaries for both sides.
Senior officials in Vienna ended five days of negotiations this week, with delegations returning home before negotiations resume next week. People involved in the talks say progress has been made as the United States has more clearly exposed the outlines of the sanctions relief it is prepared to provide.
Many of the sanctions have been imposed under the Trump administration, using U.S. terrorism officials, and American officials have previously said they are willing to consider lifting some of them. But they did not detail which sanctions could be relaxed or which Iranian entities could be affected.