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Diplomats caution that Iran nuclear talks in Vienna still need more time

Leaders of the G-7 group of nations reaffirm a commitment to stop the Islamic republic from building nuclear weapons

Iran's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharib Abadi, leaves the 'Grand Hotel Vienna' where where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)
Iran's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kazem Gharib Abadi, leaves the 'Grand Hotel Vienna' where where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)

VIENNA — Diplomats from outside the European Union cautioned on Sunday that negotiations with Iran to salvage a landmark nuclear deal still need more time, as leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations reaffirmed a commitment to stop the Islamic republic from building nuclear weapons.

Iranian envoys held another round of negotiations with international delegations in Vienna, a day after EU coordinators suggested that differences over the 2015 accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities had narrowed further. But Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian state media that he thought a deal was unlikely to emerge in the coming week. A diplomat from Russia also said more time was needed to work out details.

The Vienna meetings are aimed at rebuilding a nuclear containment agreement between Iran and major world powers that the Trump administration withdrew the United States from in 2018.

US President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders expressed support for the Vienna process after a three-day summit in southwest England that ended Sunday. The G-7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi from Argentina, addresses the media during a news conference behind plexiglass shields regarding the agency’s monitoring of Iran’s nuclear energy program at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, June 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

“We are committed to ensuring that Iran will never develop a nuclear weapon,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “A restored and fully-implemented [nuclear deal] could also pave the way to further address regional and security concerns.”

A resolution would see Iran return to commitments made in 2015, aimed at making the development of a nuclear weapon impossible, in exchange for lighter US sanctions.

Sunday’s bilateral meetings followed joint negotiations held Saturday involving senior diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia, and Britain. The United States was not directly involved.

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