So far during this month's high stakes Vienna talks the Biden administration has refused to give in to Iranian demands that all Trump-era sanctions be immediately lifted as a condition for direct talks leading to the restoration of the JCPOA nuclear deal. The two sides have instead talked 'indirectly' via European mediators.
But there's been 'positive' progress reported as talks are set to resume next week, which has included Washington signaling it is willing to lift sanctions in a piecemeal fashion, especially when it comes to certain key vital sectors of the economy, such as energy, medical, and central banking.
The Wall Street Journal this week is citing two unnamed officials close to negotiations who said "the US is open to lifting terror sanctions against Iran’s central bank, its national oil and tanker companies and several key economic sectors including steel, aluminum and others." The Iranians want to see specifics, however, before they are willing to roll back uranium enrichment and other breaches of the 2015 JCPOA terms.
And further, "A senior European official said Washington has also signaled potential sanctions relief for sectors including textiles, autos, shipping and insurance, all industries Iran was earmarked to gain from in the 2015 agreement."
"Lifting terror sanctions against some of those state entities and critical sectors of the economy would act as a significant tonic to the crippled economy and represent a large share of the country’s income," the WSJ report underscored.
Recall that Trump's sanctions against the central bank came amid allegations of terrorist financing and support. The "terror" designations left in place by Trump on key sectors of the Iranian economy remains a significant hurdle to overcome, which something which Tehran is demanding as a central condition of progress.
Meanwhile the Islamic Republic continues taking to steps to apply its own counter-pressure on the US and the West, reportedly pursuing the installation of more advanced centrifuges to repair the damage after the earlier Natanz nuclear site sabotage - believed to have been carried out by Israeli intelligence. "The UN atomic agency on Wednesday said Iran has installed additional advanced centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear plant, the site of a recent blast blamed on Israel," The Times of Israel reported this week.
"According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, seen by Reuters, Iran added two more cascades of IR-4 centrifuges and six clusters of IR-2m at its underground facility," the report said. "The IAEA also confirmed that some of the centrifuges were in use and said the Islamic Republic plans to install another four cascades of the IR-4 at Natanz." This means the Iranians intend to have more in place than were previously in place before the April 11 attack at the Natanz nuclear site.