A day after talks resumed in Vienna, Iran and Russia were optimistic about negotiations to salvage the historic Iran nuclear deal, while EU negotiators stressed their urgency, saying negotiations were too slow .
Negotiations to reinstate the 2015 deal began earlier this year, but came to a halt in June when Iran elected a new ultra-conservative government. They resumed at the end of November, the last cycle starting Monday in Vienna.
The goal is to bring back Washington, which left the deal in 2018, and curb Tehran’s nuclear activities, which have been stepped up in response to the US withdrawal and reimposed sanctions.
“This negotiation is urgent … We are clear that we are approaching the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program will have completely emptied the JCPoA,” British, French and German negotiators said in a statement, referring to to the person responsible for the agreement. name by its acronym.
“This means we have weeks, not months, to strike a deal before the key non-proliferation benefits of JCPoA are lost.”
Besides the so-called E3 European countries, Iran, China and Russia are also participating in the talks, and the United States is participating indirectly.
Iran insists all U.S. sanctions must be lifted before action is taken on the nuclear side, while Western negotiators say nuclear actions and sanctions must be balanced in the deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said a “good deal for all parties” was possible in the near future if the other parties showed “good faith”, while Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said that ‘a working group was making “clear progress” in the eighth round of talks. .
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The 2015 deal offered Iran a lift of economic sanctions in exchange for strict restrictions on its nuclear program aimed at ensuring it did not build an atomic bomb – an ambition Iran has consistently denied.
A year after the American withdrawal and the reimposition of sanctions, Iran in turn began to gradually renounce its commitments, in particular by intensifying its uranium enrichment while continuing to deny wanting to acquire a nuclear arsenal.
“Unprecedented” enrichmentIran’s Atomic Energy Organization director Mohammad Eslami said on Saturday that Tehran had no plans to enrich uranium beyond 60%, even though the Vienna talks failed.
Eslami said fortification levels were linked to the country’s needs, in remarks released by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
In response, E3 negotiators said Tuesday that the 60 percent enrichment was still “unprecedented for a nuclear-weapon-free state.” Military grade levels are around 90 percent.
“Its growing stocks of 60% brings Iran considerably closer to having fissile material, which could be used for nuclear weapons,” they said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Tuesday as saying that the negotiations were “on the right track”.
“With the goodwill and seriousness of the other parties, we can envisage (reaching) an early agreement in the near future,” he said.
Moscow’s Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said the working group on nuclear issues held a “useful meeting” on Tuesday, while the lifting of sanctions was also being discussed informally.
“We are seeing clear progress,” he wrote on Twitter.
EU diplomat Enrique Mora, who is chairing the talks, said on Monday that all sides showed “a clear will to work towards a positive outcome”, but that “very difficult” negotiations awaited him.
(AXADLETM with AFP and REUTERS)
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