Iran thwarts attack on atomic energy agency building

Iran says progress made in nuclear talks but key issues remain

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Dubai: A spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that Iran and the six world powers have made significant progress in the negotiations to resume their 2015 nuclear agreement, but important issues still need to be resolved.

Since April, Iran has negotiated with major powers in Vienna to formulate steps that Tehran and Washington must adopt sanctions and nuclear activities to restore full compliance with the nuclear convention.

“Each round of talks in Vienna could have been the final round. We should not rush. We have made significant progress but key issues remain,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised weekly news conference. “There is no stalemate in the talks.”

After former U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the deal three years ago and reimposed sanctions on Iran, Tehran has been rebuilding stockpiles of enriched uranium, enriching it to higher levels of fissile purity and installing advanced centrifuges to speed up production.

Iran s top nuclear negotiator doubted that the talks would be the final round, and the delegations might need to return to their capitals for consultations.

“The negotiations are very complex and we have now reached the main issues of dispute,” Abbas Araqchi, told state TV from Vienna.

People familiar with the matter said that Iran’s reversal of various violations of the agreement and the use of advanced centrifuges to enrich and produce uranium metal are some of the remaining problems.

US President Biden said that if Tehran first resumes compliance with its strict restrictions on uranium enrichment (uranium may become a means of nuclear bombs), Washington will return to the agreement.

Khatibzad said: “All sanctions should be lifted and then verified by Iran… Then we will reverse our nuclear steps.”

As Washington was looking for a way back to the agreement, he tiptoed through the minefield paved by Trump. Reuters statistics on the actions of the US Treasury Department show that sanctions related to Iran have imposed sanctions on more than 700 entities and people.

Iran demands that all sanctions imposed on Trump-sanctions related to its nuclear program, as well as non-nuclear penalties related to terrorism, missile development and human rights-should be lifted.

“This is one of the key issues that has slowed down the talks. All sanctions, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, imposed by Trump should be lifted,” an Iranian official told Reuters.

Trump blacklisted about two dozen institutions vital to Iran s economy, including its central bank and national oil company, using U.S. laws designed to punish foreign actors for supporting terrorism or weapons proliferation.

His decision to blacklist Iran s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and its Quds Force foreign paramilitary and espionage arm, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization has also complicated matters.

The IRGC also an industrial empire whose political influence is expected to grow after Iran s June presidential election, when a hardline president close to the elite force is expected to win.

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