Nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna were resumed yesterday for one day at the level of the heads of delegations, after negotiations in the working groups. The parties decided to lock, at Iran’s request, the current round of talks, the sixth in a row, and go out for consultations in their capitals. The head of the Iranian delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Arakchi, said: “We are now closer than ever to an agreement, but there is a distance left between the parties until final agreements are reached and it will not be easy to bridge this gap. I hope that in the next round of talks we will succeed in the short distance between our positions. “
Russia’s representative Mikhail Ulyanov said that at this stage no one knows when the parties will return for another round of talks, which in his opinion is expected to be the last.
The EU representative, who chaired the meeting, said “progress has been made, but we are not there yet”. He also expects a new agreement to be signed between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran, which will meanwhile regulate the supervision of nuclear facilities. Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, said that “it is not the Iranian president who determines whether Iran will return to fulfilling its country’s obligations under the agreement, but Supreme Leader Khamenei.” Tehran said it was not Khamenei’s intention to replace the negotiating team at this stage.
The fate of talks on the return of Iran and the United States to the nuclear deal signed in 2015 is the first international test of President-elect Ibrahim Raisi.
Europeans think there is a chance to sign it even before the change of presidents. Others believe that Raisi would prefer not to create the impression that the agreement was forced on him. We are now talking again about a gradual arrangement that Iran has rejected in the past with all its might. That is, the abolition of certain sanctions, in exchange for a gradual return to conditions of enrichment and reasonable supervision by Iran.
Raissi paid special attention during his career to the nuclear issue. During the election campaign, he made sure to emphasize his support for the nuclear deal and back to it under the terms set by Iran. Muhammad Zarif, the outgoing foreign minister in the Iranian government, was quick to state that negotiations on the renewal of the nuclear deal are expected to end during the current president’s tenure or by mid-August at the latest. Meanwhile, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah sent a warm greeting to the elected president of Iran Raisi and described him as a “defender” against Israel and “other aggressors.”