The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria

Nuclear talks resume as West asks whether Iran is serious or stalling

Tehran's new negotiating team has set out demands that U.S. and European diplomats consider unrealistic; failure to strike deal could prompt reaction from Israel, which has said military options would be on the table

Reuters |
Published: 11.29.21, 07:53
World powers and Iran will gather in Vienna on Monday to try to salvage their 2015 nuclear deal, but with Tehran sticking to its tough stance and Western powers increasingly frustrated, hopes of a breakthrough appear slim.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Diplomats say time is running low to resurrect the pact, which then-U.S. president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, angering Iran and dismaying the other powers involved - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
    3 View gallery
    The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria
    The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vienna, Austria
    The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Six rounds of indirect talks were held between April and June. The new round begins after a hiatus triggered by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric.
    Tehran's new negotiating team has set out demands that U.S. and European diplomats consider unrealistic, Western diplomats say.
    They include insisting that all U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed since 2017, including those unrelated to Iran's nuclear program, be dropped.
    In parallel, Tehran's conflicts with the UN atomic watchdog, which monitors the nuclear program, have festered.
    3 View gallery
    The Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran in December 2020
    The Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran in December 2020
    The Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran
    (Photo: AFP)
    Iran has pressed ahead with its uranium enrichment program and the IAEA says its inspectors have been treated roughly and refused access to reinstall monitoring cameras at a site it deems essential to reviving the deal.
    "If Iran thinks it can use this time to build more leverage and then come back and say they want something better, it simply won't work. We and our partners won't go for it," U.S. envoy Robert Malley told BBC Sounds on Saturday.
    He warned that Washington would be ready to ramp up pressure on Tehran if talks collapse.
    Iranian officials have insisted in the run-up to Monday that their focus is purely the lifting of sanctions rather than nuclear issues. Highlighting that, its 40-strong delegation mostly includes economic officials.
    3 View gallery
    Iran's chief negotiator to the nuclear talks Ali Bagheri Kani
    Iran's chief negotiator to the nuclear talks Ali Bagheri Kani
    Iran's chief negotiator to the nuclear talks Ali Bagheri Kani
    (Photo: AFP)
    "To ensure any forthcoming agreement is ironclad, the West needs to pay a price for having failed to uphold its part of the bargain. As in any business, a deal is a deal, and breaking it has consequences," Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani said in defiant column in the Financial Times on Sunday.
    "The principle of 'mutual compliance' cannot form a proper base for negotiations since it was the U.S. government which unilaterally left the deal."
    Diplomats have said Washington has suggested negotiating an open-ended interim accord with Tehran as long as a permanent deal is not achieved.
    Failure to strike a deal could also prompt reaction from Israel which has said military options would be on the table.
    "The talks can't last forever. There is the obvious need to speed up the process,' Moscow's envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter.
    Talkbacks for this article 0