Vienna: Iran’s top negotiator said on Thursday that he will stick to the position that Tehran put forward when the nuclear talks broke down last week, and as world powers resume negotiations in Vienna, the EU and Russian envoys have called for even more urgent calls.
The indirect U.S.-Iranian talks in Vienna, in which other diplomats from the remaining parties to a now tattered 2015 deal – France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – shuttle between them because Tehran refuses direct contact with Washington, aim to get both sides to resume full compliance with the accord.
However, last week s discussions broke off with European and U.S. officials voicing dismay at sweeping demands by Iran s new, hardline government under anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi, whose June election caused a five-month hiatus in the talks.
Western officials have said Iran has abandoned many compromises it had made in the previous six rounds of talks, pocketed those made by others, and demanded more last week.
Iran wants all sanctions re-imposed by the United States in 2018 after then President Donald Trump ditched the deal, to be lifted in a verifiable process.
Chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani told reporters after an opening meeting with world powers on Thursday: “Iran emphasized that it is continuing negotiations in earnest based on its previous position.”
“If the ground is leveled (towards an agreement), Iran would like to reach an agreement… The fact that all parties want the negotiations to continue shows that all parties want to narrow their differences.”
Enrique Mora, the EU negotiating coordinator, said in an interview with reporters that the two sides “do not have that much time in the world.”
“What I felt this morning was from…all delegations a renewed sense of purpose in the need to work and to reach an agreement on bringing the JCPOA back to life,” Mora said, using the deal s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Russia s envoy said the short meeting had been constructive and that all sides agreed on the need to restore the accord “successfully and swiftly.”
Under the 2015 accord with major powers, Iran limited its nuclear programme – which the West feared would be used to develop weapons, something Tehran denies – in return for relief from U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions.
Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh U.S. sanctions, and Iran began violating the nuclear restrictions a year later.
When the US State Department resumed talks on Thursday, it indicated that Washington may be losing patience. President Joe Biden’s administration is taking action to strengthen the implementation of sanctions against Iran and will send a high-level delegation to the United Arab Emirates next week.