Early Feb. Seems Realistic Timeline for Conclusion of Vienna Talks

Early Feb. Seems Realistic Timeline for Conclusion of Vienna Talks
Early Feb. Seems Realistic Timeline for Conclusion of Vienna Talks

The beginning of February appears to be a realistic timeline at this stage to conclude talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, according to Russia’s top negotiator. 
Mikhail Ulyanov said negotiators had set the stage for rapid progress during the previous round of talks. 
“We need to orient ourselves towards successful completion of the talks as soon as possible, preferably by the beginning of February,” he said in a tweet. 
He stressed, however, that the date only refers to a “timeline”, not a “deadline”. 
“Artificial deadlines are harmful. Progress at the talks depends on very many factors and cannot be accurately calculated in advance,” he added.  
Talks in the Austrian capital Vienna started in April to work out how the United States and Iran can return to their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 
Tehran began exceeding the nuclear limits of the agreement in reaction to Washington’s withdrawal and reimposition of sweeping sanctions. 
Seven rounds of talks have been held so far, with a five-month interval in June as a result of a change of government in Iran. 
Negotiators are set to return to Vienna on Monday to start a new round amid warnings by western parties about a closing window of opportunity. 



No Alternative 

The European participants said that “precious time” was being lost and that they are “rapidly reaching the end of the road” in these negotiations.
The European Union coordinator of the negotiations said following the latest round that there is a “sense of urgency” to revive the agreement.
“We are not talking any more about months, we are talking about weeks,” Enrique Mora said, although he would not set a deadline. 
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said recently that Washington and its partners are discussing timeframes for diplomacy. 
“We’re not circling a date on the calendar in public, but I can tell you that behind closed doors we are talking about timeframes and they are not long,” he said, adding that timeline would be within “weeks”.
American officials had earlier said that the US could soon shift its attention away from attempting to resurrect the JCPOA and turn to other options. 
Russia, on the other hand, insists that the deal has not lost its relevance and has no alternative. 
“All UN Security Council member nations, including, by the way, the United States, must observe it. We insist on that,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. 
She added that the Russian side insists that there is no alternative to the JCPOA.
Zakharova underlined that Russia has maintained the same stance both when the US quit the deal and when it changed position in its favor. 
“We stuck to our former position and that is why we take part in these talks as real partners in order to restore this deal as soon as possible,” she said. 
China has also said it would continue to play an active and constructive role and work with all parties to bring the JCPOA back onto the right track “at an early date”.
“We hope all parties will adopt a serious attitude, focus on outstanding issues, and continue to advance the negotiations to achieve early results,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing on Friday. 
He reiterated that, as the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should overhaul its erroneous policy, lift all illegal sanctions on Iran and long-arm jurisdiction on third parties, while Iran should also resume full compliance on this basis.  

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