Tough Issues Remain to Be Resolved in Vienna Talks

Tough Issues Remain to Be  Resolved in Vienna Talks
Tough Issues Remain to Be  Resolved in Vienna Talks

Nuclear talks between world powers and Iran in Vienna, Austria, to revive the 2015 nuclear deal have not progressed as much as hoped for after three weeks of negotiations and there is still no understanding on the most difficult issues, European diplomats said on Saturday.
“We have much work, and little time, left. Against that background, we would have hoped for more progress this week,” senior diplomats from the so-called E3, France, Britain and Germany, said in a statement after talks broke off for a week, Reuters reported.
“We have yet to come to an understanding on the most critical points.”
They added that success is still possible, although not guaranteed. 
Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora, who coordinates the talks, said in a tweet, “Moderate advances but with more detail comes more complexity. We will reconvene next week to continue.”
The talks aim to bring Iran and the United States fully back into compliance with the nuclear deal.
The talks began last month with the remaining parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, namely Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, meeting in the basement of a luxury hotel, and the United States based in another hotel across the street. 
Iran has refused to hold direct meetings with US officials.
US President Joe Biden is seeking to return to the deal after Washington pulled out in 2018 under then president, Donald Trump, and reimposed sanctions against Tehran. Iran responded as of 2019 by going beyond many of the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities.
Western officials have said they hope to reach a deal by May 21, when an agreement between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog on continued monitoring of some Iranian nuclear activities is due to expire. 
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday the talks were in “an unclear place”, meaning it was uncertain whether they would lead to an agreement. 

Optimistic Voice

After the meeting of remaining parties that wrapped up the third round of talks, Russia’s ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, Mikhail Ulyanov, told reporters not to expect breakthroughs in the days to come, adding that the talks would reconvene on Friday.
“We need simply to continue diplomatic, day-to-day work and we have all the reasons to expect that the outcome, the final outcome, will be successful and it will come quite soon, in a few weeks,” Ulyanov, who is one of the more optimistic voices at the talks, said. 
The break in talks was widely expected as diplomats said officials from several countries are also involved in the Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in London that begins on Monday and ends on Wednesday.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator said on Saturday Tehran expects US sanctions on oil, banks and other sectors and on most individuals and institutions to be lifted based on agreements reached so far at talks in Vienna, ISNA reported.
“Sanctions ... on Iran’s energy sector, which include oil and gas, or those on the automotive industry, financial, banking and port sanctions, all should be lifted based on agreements reached so far,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said.
“There are individuals and institutions that have been specifically sanctioned and their list is long. Talks on the list are still ongoing,” he added. 
Araqchi noted that under what had been agreed so far, a majority of the list would have the sanctions lifted.

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