Talks on the Vienna nuclear deal with Iran started again

by time news
The delegates are waiting in Vienna for the meeting to begin

The 2015 nuclear deal with Iran is to be saved.

(Photo: via REUTERS)

Wien High-ranking diplomats from Germany and other countries have begun a new attempt at mediation in the nuclear dispute between Iran and the USA. After a five-month hiatus, the negotiators met in Vienna on Monday to save the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

To do this, Washington would have to lift its economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic and Iran would have to curtail its nuclear program again. Diplomats consider an agreement to be possible – if at all – after months of talks at the earliest.

After all, despite the tense atmosphere, the restart was accompanied by positive signals. The high-ranking EU diplomat Enrique Mora, who is coordinating the talks resumed on Monday in Vienna, said that there was a clear will to get involved in the attempted diplomatic solution.

The Iranian negotiating team has promised to build on the results of the previous six rounds of talks. However, there are “understandably new political sensitivities” in Tehran, Mora admitted to journalists.

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According to Mora, a subgroup of experts will deal with lifting the US sanctions from Tuesday. A second sub-group is to start work on de-escalation steps in Iran.

The meeting was also dominated by the corona lockdown in Austria. All delegates wore FFP2 masks when the round was formally opened in the noble hotel Palais Coburg. It was precisely there that the agreement was negotiated six years ago, which was supposed to prevent the construction of nuclear weapons through strict conditions for Iran’s nuclear facilities. In return, Western sanctions were lifted.

Conversations take place under completely different circumstances

In contrast to the very cooperative atmosphere of 2015, the talks are now taking place under completely different circumstances: The representatives of Washington are in Vienna, but are not sitting at the large negotiating table. First, because the United States left the pact in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. Second, because Tehran wants it that way.

There will definitely be no direct negotiations, said Tehran’s Foreign Office spokesman Said Khatibzadeh. As in previous rounds, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia and China were once again the go-to mediators.

The composition of the delegation from Tehran is also new in Vienna. Since the last round of negotiations in June, Iran’s pragmatic President Hassan Ruhani has handed over his office to the arch-conservative Ebrahim Raisi.

The Iranian delegation was self-confident: “We are going well prepared and very determined into the new round of negotiations and will consistently enforce our demand for the lifting of the sanctions,” it said immediately before the start of the seventh round.

The goal of the other participating countries is to narrow down the Iranian nuclear program. In response to the US exit, Iran has expanded its nuclear facilities, produced uranium that is almost weapons-grade, and restricted international inspections.

Despite all the differences compared to 2015, there is one constant: rounds of negotiations within the framework of the nuclear agreement are accompanied by warnings from Israel. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called on allies on Monday not to “give in to Iranian blackmail”. Tehran wants sanctions to be lifted for free and continues to strive to destroy Israel.

The government in Jerusalem received support from London. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid jointly emphasized that they would “work day and night” to prevent Iranian nuclear weapons.

More: Bennet: Israel would not be obliged to sign a new nuclear deal with Iran

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