Friday, January 21

Iranian nuclear – Negotiations in Vienna resume Monday afternoon

(Belga) The resumption of negotiations in Vienna to relaunch the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the great powers will take place on Monday afternoon, a European diplomat told AFP on Sunday.

The talks, which were suspended in June, will resume between Iran on the one hand and Germany, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia, the countries still parties to the 2015 agreement, to the other, around 2:00 p.m. local time (1:00 p.m. GMT), said this diplomatic source. The United States will also send a delegation, which will be led by US Special Envoy Rob Malley and which will participate in the negotiations in an indirect manner. Russian Ambassador to Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said this week that “informal meetings” between the participants would take place before the official start of negotiations which will take place at the Palais Coburg hotel in the Austrian capital. Ulyanov noted that the resumption of talks would take place more than five months after their suspension, “a very prolonged pause”. “The talks cannot go on forever. There is a clear need to speed up the process,” he said in a tweet on Saturday. On Saturday, the official Iranian news agency Irna announced the arrival in Vienna of Iran’s chief negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri. The latter had previously visited Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The Vienna Iranian nuclear pact concluded in 2015 offered Iran the lifting of part of the international sanctions strangling its economy in exchange for a drastic reduction in its nuclear program, placed under strict UN control. But the United States unilaterally left this agreement under President Donald Trump (2017-2021) and reinstated and toughened punitive measures. A year later, Iran responded by abandoning its nuclear commitments, notably exceeding the limits set by the agreement on its stocks of highly enriched uranium. Mr. Trump’s successor in the White House Joe Biden has announced the United States’ willingness to return to the deal, but Washington has accused Tehran of dragging its feet in advancing talks intended to revive it and of formulating “radical” demands. US envoy Rob Malley judged, according to excerpts from an interview with US public radio NPR made public on Wednesday, that Iranian actions in recent months “did not bode well for negotiations.” (Belga)

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