Nuclear talks resume as West questions whether Iran is serious or faltering By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria on May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Leonard Voyager // FILE PHOTO

Written by François Murphy and Parisa Hafezi

VIENNA (Reuters) – World powers and Iran meet in Vienna on Monday to try to salvage their 2015 nuclear deal, but with Tehran sticking to its hard line and increasingly frustrated Western powers, hopes for a breakthrough look slim.

Diplomats say time is running out to revive the agreement, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, angering Iran and upsetting the other powers involved – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Six rounds of indirect talks were held between April and June. The new round begins after a hiatus created by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric.

Western diplomats said Tehran’s new negotiating team had set demands that US and European diplomats deemed unrealistic.

They include insisting on dropping all sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union since 2017, including those unrelated to Iran’s nuclear programme.[nL8N2SI09H[nL8N2SI09H .][nL8N2SI09H[nL8N2SI09H

In parallel, Tehran’s conflicts with the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors the nuclear program, have worsened.

Iran has pushed ahead with its uranium enrichment programme, and the International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors have been treated harshly and refused to allow them to reinstall surveillance cameras at a site it considers necessary to revive the deal.

US envoy Robert Malley told BBC Sounds: “If Iran thinks it can use this time to build more influence and then comes back and says it wants something better, it simply won’t work. We and our partners will not go for it.” in a. Saturday.

He warned that Washington would be ready to step up pressure on Tehran if the talks collapsed.

Iranian officials insisted in the run-up to Monday that their focus was only on lifting sanctions rather than nuclear issues. Highlighting this, the 40-member delegation includes mostly economic officials.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said, “To ensure that any future agreement is tough, the West must pay a price for failing to keep its share of the deal. As in any business, a deal is a deal, and breaking it has consequences.” Ali Bagheri Kani said in a defiant column in the Financial Times on Sunday.

“The principle of ‘mutual compliance’ could not constitute an appropriate basis for negotiations because it was the US government that left the deal unilaterally.”

Diplomats said Washington has proposed negotiating an open-ended interim deal with Tehran as long as a permanent deal is not reached.

Failure to reach an agreement could lead to a reaction from Israel, which said that military options would be on the table.

“Talks cannot go on forever. There is a clear need to speed up the process,” Moscow envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter (NYSE).

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