Iran nuclear talks advance in Vienna, diplomats say
Senior diplomats said on Sunday that further progress was made in talks between Iran and world powers in an attempt to restore a landmark 2015 deal to contain Iranian nuclear development that was scrapped by the Trump administration. They said it was now up to the governments involved in the negotiations to make political decisions.
It was the first official meeting since the Iranian justice chief won a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election last week.
Some diplomats fear that the election of Ebrahim Raisi to the Iranian presidency will complicate a possible return to the nuclear deal.
Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chaired the final meeting of the sixth round of talks between Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran, told reporters that ” we are closer to an agreement, but we are not there yet “.
âWe have made progress on a number of technical issues,â added Mora. “We now have more clarity on the technical documents – all quite complex – and that clarity also allows us to get a good idea of ââwhat the political issues are.”
He hasn’t developed.
Senior Russian Representative Mikhail Ulyanov said members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, “took stock of the significant progress made in the Vienna talks, including the sixth round, and agreed to do so. a break to allow participants to consult with their capitals in view of what is supposed to be the last round of negotiations. “
“There are some controversial points which require political decisions. Apparently, diplomatic efforts to find a common language have been almost entirely exhausted. So the time has come for political decisions,” Ulyanov added.
The countries involved in the negotiations attempted to resolve the main outstanding questions of how to bring the United States back into the landmark deal, which then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Washington in 2018. Trump also reinstated and increased sanctions in an attempt to force Iran to renegotiate the pact with more concessions.
Ulyanov said that after returning to report the results of the talks to their respective governments, he expected diplomats to return for the final round of talks in Vienna in about 10 days and said they could finalize the talks. negotiations by mid-July.
“I think we have every chance of reaching the end point of our negotiations, maybe even by mid-July, unless something extraordinary and negative happens,” he said. -he declares.
In a statement written after the talks on Sunday, top European E3 diplomats called for a swift decision-making in capitals involved in the talks.
“Delegations will now go to capitals to consult their leaders,” wrote the diplomats without giving their names, as is customary. “We urge all parties to return to Vienna and be ready to strike a deal. The time for decision is fast approaching.”
Iran’s deputy foreign minister in charge of political affairs said Sunday ahead of the meeting that “we believe almost all of the agreement documents are ready,” according to the semi-official Iranian news agency Mehr.
âOf the main issues that remain in dispute, some have been resolved and some remain, but it has taken on a very specific form and it is quite clear what the dimensions of these disputes are,â said Seyyed Abbas Araghchi.
The United States did not have a representative at the Vienna table. However, President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled its willingness to join the deal with Iran under conditions that would see the United States reduce sanctions overall and Iran revert to its 2015 nuclear commitments. US delegation in Vienna participates in indirect talks with Iran, with diplomats from other world powers acting as intermediaries.
Sunday’s meeting was overshadowed by Raisi’s election in Iran, which puts hard-line supporters in charge of the government at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium to its highest level, though still below expectations. military grade levels. Tensions remain high with Iran, the United States and Israel, which allegedly carried out a series of attacks targeting Iranian nuclear sites and assassinated the scientist who created his military atomic program decades earlier.
Raisi is the first Iranian president sanctioned by the US government even before taking office, for his involvement in the 1988 mass executions, as well as his stint as head of the internationally criticized Iranian justice system – one of the most great executioners of the world.
In Jerusalem, new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Sunday that Raisi’s election as Iranian president was “the last chance for world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear deal and understand who they are doing. case”.
“These guys are murderers, mass murderers: a brutal executioner regime must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that will allow it to kill not thousands, but millions,” he said. .
Israel has long said it opposes the nuclear program of Iran’s nemesis and said it will prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday he hoped the election of Iran’s new president would not be an obstacle to reaching a deal in Vienna.
“We are very close. We have been working for two months,” Borrell told reporters during a visit to the Lebanese capital of Beirut. “So I hope that the election results will not be the last obstacle that will ruin the negotiating process.”