World powers and Iran will meet in Vienna on Monday to try to salvage their 2015 nuclear deal, but with Tehran sticking to its firm stance and Western powers increasingly frustrated, hopes of a breakthrough appear thin.
Diplomats say time is running out to resuscitate the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, angering Iran and dismaying the other powers involved – Britain, the United States. China, France, Germany and Russia.
Six rounds of indirect talks took place between April and June. The new round begins after an interruption triggered by the election of a new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a die-hard cleric.
Tehran’s new negotiating team has made demands that U.S. and European diplomats deem unrealistic, according to Western diplomats.
This includes insisting that all US and European sanctions imposed since 2017, including those unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program, be dropped.
At the same time, Tehran’s conflicts with the UN atomic watchdog, which oversees the nuclear program, have escalated.
Iran has continued its uranium enrichment program and the IAEA says its inspectors were treated harshly and denied access to reinstall surveillance cameras at a site it deems essential to revive the ‘OK.
“If Iran thinks it can use this time to build its influence, then come back and say it wants something better, it just won’t work. We and our partners won’t,” he said. American envoy Robert Malley to BBC Sounds. Saturday.
He warned that Washington would be ready to step up pressure on Tehran if the talks fail.
Iranian officials insisted as Monday approached that their goal is purely the lifting of sanctions rather than nuclear issues. Underlining this, its delegation of 40 people mainly includes business leaders.
“To ensure that any future deal is foolproof, the West must pay the price for not living up to its end of the bargain. As in any business, a deal is a deal, and breaking it has consequences. “said Iran’s main nuclear negotiator. Ali Bagheri Kani said in a provocative Financial Times column on Sunday.
“The principle of ‘mutual conformity’ cannot be an appropriate basis for negotiations since it was the US government that unilaterally left the agreement.”
Diplomats said Washington had suggested negotiating an indefinite interim agreement with Tehran until a permanent agreement is reached.
“The talks cannot go on forever. It is obvious that the process must be speeded up,” Moscow envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter.