Senior diplomats from Iran and major powers will discuss the five-year-old nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic on Wednesday.
The future of that international agreement seems uncertain, although US President-elect Joe Biden has made it clear that he wants to revive the treaty.
According to insiders, the digital meeting of diplomats serves to prepare top consultations between ministers from the countries concerned. These are Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China. The United States is not represented because President Donald Trump has withdrawn his country from the nuclear deal.
The nuclear deal came about in 2015 and was supposed to ensure that Iran would not have access to nuclear weapons. The Iranians pledged to curtail their nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
The agreement quickly became unsettled. Trump, elected in 2016, felt his predecessor Barack Obama had struck a bad deal. After taking office, Trump again imposed sanctions against Iran, which stopped complying with the agreements and now has far more enriched uranium than agreed.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani said this month that his country is ready to stick to the agreements again if other countries do too. However, he has to deal with opposition from hardliners in parliament, among others. They recently passed a law that makes it possible to enrich even more uranium and to ban international inspectors.
Rohani again showed on Wednesday that he is not sorry about the departure of Trump. “We are not overjoyed that Mr Biden has taken office, but we are pleased that Trump is leaving,” the president said in a speech. He called Trump a “terrorist” and “America’s most lawless president.”