Vienna: Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to save the 2015 agreement “made progress” on Saturday, the day after Tehran stated that it had begun producing 60% uranium.
The Islamic Republic warned that after the attack on its uranium mine Natanz nuclear facility earlier this week, it would greatly increase the enrichment rate of uranium, which was blamed on Israel’s enemies.
That cast a shadow over the talks in Vienna aimed at rescuing a nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that former US president Donald Trump abandoned almost three years ago.
European Union envoy Enrique Mora said Saturday that “progress has been made in a far from easy task. We need now more detailed work”.
Russian ambassador to Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov added that “participants took note with satisfaction of the progress made so far and expressed determination to continue negotiations with a view to complete the process successfully as soon as possible.”
The discussions involved EU officials and representatives from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran.
The purpose of the talks is to determine which sanctions the United States should lift and what measures Iran must take to control Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran delegation head Abbas Araghchi remarked on Telegram that “a good discussion took place within the joint commission.
“It appears that a new agreement is taking shape and there is now a common final goal among all,” he added.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, confirmed Iran was now producing uranium enriched to 60 percent purity, taking the country closer to the 90-percent level required for use in a nuclear weapon.
“The enrichment of uranium to 60 percent is underway” in Natanz, he was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying.
Iran has repeatedly insisted it is not seeking atomic weapons, but it has gradually rolled back its nuclear commitments since 2019, the year after Washington withdrew from the accord and began imposing sanctions.
The 2015 transaction was officially called the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), which freed Iran from sanctions to curb its nuclear program.
Iran promised to keep the enrichment rate at 3.67%, which had been increased to 20% in January.
Negotiations aimed at ensuring that the United States returns to the JCPOA and lifting sanctions have resumed this week.
“We think that negotiations have reached a stage that the parties can start working on a joint text. The writing of the text can start, at least in the fields with a consensus,” Araghchi said.