Top Negotiator Back in Vienna

The US has held back the process of reaching a good agreement by slow political decision-making, an Iranian source said
Top Negotiator Back in Vienna
Top Negotiator Back in Vienna

Iran’s top negotiator in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Ali Baqeri Kani, returned to the Austrian capital Vienna on Wednesday morning after a short trip to Tehran for consultations with senior authorities. 
Later in the day, he held a meeting with the European Union coordinator of the talks, Enrique Mora, to take stock of the ongoing diplomatic efforts to settle Iran’s nuclear issue. 
Negotiations have reached a final stage after 11 months and await important political decisions about the few remaining issues.
The talks aim to restore the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which has been unravelling since the United States pulled out and reimposed tough sanctions that prompted Tehran to suspend its commitments in response. 
An informed source close to the Iranian negotiating team told IRNA that the talks have seen considerable progress over the past few weeks thanks to Iran’s initiatives and good faith. 
Iran’s recent agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency on a joint roadmap to resolve outstanding safeguards issues is an indication of such an attitude, according to the source. 
“On the other hand, the American team has held back the process of reaching a good agreement by slow political decision-making.” 
What an agreement in Vienna requires today more than anything is a US answer to initiatives put forward at the negotiating table, the source added. 
Head of Iran’s permanent mission to Vienna-based organizations, Mohammad Reza Ghaebi, also said in his recent address to the IAEA Board of Governors that an agreement is within reach if western parties make the right decisions. 
“Significant progress has been made in the talks so far and if the US and other JCPOA members show good will and make the required and right decisions for the swift removal of cruel and inhumane sanctions, a successful conclusion of negotiations is not beyond reach,” he said. 



Almost Completed Deal

Mora also said in a recent tweet that there are no longer expert level talks or formal meetings, adding it is time for political decisions in the next few days to end the Vienna talks. 
However, the talks were further complicated over the weekend when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow wanted a guarantee from the US that its trade, investment and military-technical cooperation with Iran would not be hindered by sanctions imposed over its conflict in Ukraine. 
Western powers on Tuesday warned Russia against wrecking an almost completed deal on JCPOA revival. 
Two Western officials have said there is now a final text on the table in which the remaining issues have been resolved, according to Reuters.
While they could not rule out further last-minute surprises, they said the last big open question was whether Russia’s demands were manageably narrow and limited to nuclear cooperation spelled out in the agreement, as Moscow’s envoy to the talks has told other parties, or much broader, as Russian foreign minister has described them.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said Russia was seeking to reap extra benefits from its participation in the effort to restore the nuclear agreement, but it will not succeed.
“Russia is trying to up the ante and broaden its demands with regard to the JCPOA and we are not playing ‘Let’s make a deal,’” Nuland told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
In a joint statement to the IAEA Board of Governors, Britain, France and Germany said, “The window of opportunity is closing. We call on all sides to make the decisions necessary to close this deal now, and on Russia not to add extraneous conditions to its conclusion.”
Negotiators from the three European parties had already temporarily left the talks as they believed they had gone as far as they could go and it was now up to the two main protagonists to agree on outstanding issues. 

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