Towards a turnaround ?: “The countdown to the signing of the nuclear agreement has begun”

In talks on a return to the nuclear deal, which continues in Vienna, there has been a shift in the Iranians’ position: after previously resorting to procrastination, they are now increasingly demonstrating their eagerness to sign the renewal of the agreement.

Iran, the official news agency of Iran, said that despite the “complexity” of the Vienna talks, “the countdown has begun to revive the nuclear deal.” This is “thanks to progress in the ongoing talks.”

Renewal of nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the powers. Photo: Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullahian told Al-Jazeera that talks in Vienna were moving in the right direction, but Iran demanded the removal of previous sanctions imposed on it by former US President Donald Trump, as well as guarantees that it would not be sanctioned again. Iran’s talks with Saudi Arabia are developing positively and that Iran is ready to restore normal relations immediately, he said, adding that in the coming days Iranian representatives will return to the Islamic Cooperation Organization in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Earlier, Ali Bagri, the head of the Iranian negotiating team, said that talks in Vienna “continue to progress” and that so far, he says, their move can be positively appreciated. At the same time, after the US officially accused Iran of attacking its forces in Syria and Iraq, a Norwegian newspaper reported from a reporter in Iraq that Iran had called on militias supporting it to stop their attacks against Western targets.

German Foreign Minister Annela Barbuk said at a joint press conference with her US counterpart Anthony Blinken that Iran had “wasted a lot of trust” given to it in the Vienna talks, which are now entering a critical stage, and that “there is not much time left” to revive the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Tehran maintains an aggressive tone toward Israel. Iranian Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramzan Sharif warned Israel that “if it attacks the nuclear facilities – it will pay a very heavy price.” He said, “Our nuclear facilities are well fortified. Our missile capabilities are a non-negotiable red line. Israel is well aware that the Iron Dome has no ability to stop our missiles.”

A mysterious explosion, apparently of a missile, was reported on Tuesday in the Karaj area, west of Tehran – where, among other things, uranium enrichment production facilities are located. In Iran, they claimed that it was a “missile launch as part of routine training.”

foreign Minister Yair Lapid Talked to US Secretary of State yesterday. According to a statement from the US State Department, the two discussed the challenges that Iran poses to the countries. Blinken updated Lapid on the progress of the nuclear talks in Vienna, and reiterated once again the US administration’s commitment to Israel’s security.

Yair Lapid and Anthony Blinken (Photo: Shlomi Amsalem, GPO)

This week, Lapid presented a relatively moderate position regarding the nuclear talks in Vienna, and said that Israel is exerting a lot of pressure on the Iranian nuclear issue, and especially regarding the need for further sanctions against the regime in Tehran. “We are not against any agreement, but we need to make sure that it is a good agreement,” Lapid said. “We are in an excavation war at the negotiating table with the powers to achieve improvements in the agreement. We are also talking about what a good agreement is.”

Lapid noted that thanks to the determination and pressure of the Israeli political system, the world is now taking the Iranian threat much more seriously than in the past.
The prevailing assessment in Israel now is that not only the powers, but also Iran, are interested in signing an interim agreement, which will eventually lead to a comprehensive nuclear agreement, and therefore intensive activity and dialogue with the Americans are important, in parallel with talks in Vienna.

By Editor

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