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JCPOA Parties in Vienna for Joint Commission Meeting

The Tuesday session in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel will be held at the level of deputy foreign ministers from Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany).

The meeting will be co-chaired by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi and EU’s Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Maria Schmid.

The US will be represented by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Alfred Shannon in the gathering.

The Tuesday’s session comes after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in mid-December 2016 sent a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who is also the coordinator of the JCPOA joint commission, calling for a session of the commission to address a US congressional bill extending Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for ten years.

Russia has announced that the joint commission will discuss various issues about implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including the US move to extend the anti-Iran sanctions.

In his letter, Zarif had asked Mogherini to inform the whole parties to the JCPOA about recurring breach of the deal by the US, make preparations for a JCPOA joint commission meeting, and convene the taskforce in the commission that works exclusively on the sanctions.

In December 2016, the US Senate voted 99-0 to extend the ISA for another decade. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives nearly unanimously in November. The renewal of ISA took effect on December 15 with a procedural protest from President Barack Obama, who decided to let the legislation become law without his signature.

President Hassan Rouhani had already warned that implementation of ISA will constitute a “clear and flagrant violation of the JCPOA” and draw a “very harsh reaction” from Tehran.

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