Lifting sanctions key to reviving Iran deal

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A flag of Iran. AFP

With the resumption of talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, there is an opportunity to save the nuclear non-proliferation agreement, as both the US and Iran have shown a greater willingness to keep it alive.

The hard-won deal was left on life support after the US withdrew from it in 2018 and re-imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

That the talks, which commenced in Vienna, Austria, on November 29, could happen at all shows all parties involved are still optimistic that dialogue can break the impasse.

To give this positivity some cause for celebration, the two parties concerned should try and heed each other's concerns and make efforts to meet each other half way.

Iran's new negotiating team has set demands for the revival of the nuclear agreement, including the removal of all US sanctions, a verification mechanism for the removal of the embargo, and guarantees from Washington that future administrations will not breach the deal.

The US should lift all sanctions against Iran and third parties in order to show goodwill. Iran, on its part, should comprehensively fulfill the obligations it agreed to in the 2015 deal.

Lifting the sanctions against Iran can serve as a touchstone for the US administration's sincerity in rejoining the international deal. It could also help ease tensions between the US and the Islamic Republic and even win Iran's cooperation over global crude oil prices as the US is now keen to curb its serious inflation by driving down crude oil prices.

As party to the Iran talks, China has always been committed to upholding the comprehensive Iran nuclear agreement and intensively communicated and coordinated with Russia, the UK, France, Germany, the US and the EU to promote the resumption of the negotiations.

As long as the parties concerned engage in the negotiations with good faith and a constructive spirit, there is hope that the ongoing negotiations can come to some arrangement.

At this critical moment, therefore, it is imperative that the parties involved show sincerity and flexibility so that the talks can yield a fruitful outcome.

The resumption of the Vienna negotiations is the result of concerted diplomatic efforts. It demonstrates the collective will to uphold the agreement and is consistent with the shared expectation of the international community.

This opportunity should not be squandered by intransigence or nonviable demands.