Europeans ‘disappointed’ at ‘back-tracking’ at Iran nuclear talks

AFP
December 04, 2021

VIENNA: Diplomats paused international talks in Vienna on Friday aiming at the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with European participants 'disappointment and concern' after five days of...

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VIENNA: Diplomats paused international talks in Vienna on Friday aiming at the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with European participants "disappointment and concern" after five days of negotiation.

"Tehran is walking back almost all of the difficult compromises crafted after many months of hard work," said senior diplomats from the so-called E3 (Britain, France and Germany), referring to the previous rounds of talks between April and June.

Delegations from the talks will now return to their national capitals before talks restart in Vienna in the middle of next week "to see whether gaps can be closed or not", the diplomats said.

The E3 "remain fully committed to a diplomatic way forward," they added, but stressed that "time is running out". The talks are aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, which was initially agreed between Britain, China, France, Germany Iran, Russia and the United States.

The accord aimed at putting curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme to ensure it couldn’t develop an atomic weapon, in exchange for sanctions relief for Tehran. Iran has always insisted that its nuclear programme is peaceful.

The deal began unravelling in 2018 when then US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to start exceeding limits on its nuclear programme the following year.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has said he wants to re-enter the deal and the US has been participating in this week’s talks indirectly. On Thursday the US had already issued a warning about the prospects for an agreement.

American Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was "not too late for Iran to reverse course" but insisted it could not "sustain the status quo of building their nuclear programme while dragging their feet on talks". Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had used a call with Blinken to call for the "immediate cessation" of the nuclear talks, accusing Iran of "nuclear blackmail".



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