Iran nuclear talks advancing ‘logically,’ says EU official

Iranian website reports ‘constructive interactions’ are also taking place in Vienna between UN atomic agency, officials from Islamic Republic

A person walks in front of Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, on December 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Gruber)
A person walks in front of Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks take place in Vienna, Austria, on December 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Gruber)

Negotiations between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging a tattered 2015 nuclear deal are moving ahead, a European official and an Iranian media report said Friday.

When asked if the European Union, which is chairing the talks in Vienna, is optimistic about the new Iranian negotiating team’s position, a senior European Union official told Reuters,”my impression is that we are simply advancing in quite the logical way of the negotiation.”

Diplomats from Britain, France, and Germany had urged Tehran to come back with “realistic proposals” after the Iranian delegation made numerous demands last week that the accord’s other parties deemed unacceptable.

Iran’s Nournews website, which is affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, reported that “while nuclear talks are going on in Vienna, constructive interactions had taken place between the [International Atomic Energy] Agency and Iranian officials in Vienna.”

“Details will be announced soon,” the Iranian report added, according to Reuters.

Talks in Vienna on Thursday ended an hour after resuming following a few days’ pause, with tensions high after Tehran made demands last week that European countries strongly criticized.

The meeting of all the deal’s remaining signatories — Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — was chaired by EU diplomat Enrique Mora.

The flag of Iran waves in front of the the International Center building with the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, in Vienna, AustriaI, on May 24, 2021 (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter, File)

The United States has participated indirectly in the ongoing talks because it withdrew from the accord in 2018 under then-US president Donald Trump. US President Joe Biden has signaled that he wants to rejoin the deal.

Last week’s talks were the first in over five months, a gap caused by a new hard-line government assuming power in Tehran.

The accord sealed in Vienna in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was meant to rein in Iran’s nuclear program in return for loosened economic sanctions.

Following the US decision to withdraw and reimpose sanctions against Iran, Tehran has ramped up its nuclear program again by enriching uranium beyond the thresholds allowed in the agreement. Iran has also restricted monitors from the United Nations atomic watchdog from accessing its nuclear facilities, raising concerns about what the country is doing out of view.

Meanwhile, Israeli and American military leaders are set to discuss possible military drills to practice destroying Iranian nuclear facilities in a potential worst-case scenario, a senior US official said.

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