Vienna talks to save the nuclear agreement have been temporarily suspended on the occasion of Christmas, and the file is scheduled to be discussed by phone at a US-Russian summit, while European sources revealed that the dispute over the lifting of sanctions is still deep.
Today, Thursday, talks between Iran and the major powers were suspended for 3 days for Christmas celebrations, and they will resume next Monday.
European sources close to the Vienna negotiations said that the path of the nuclear commitments is going in a good direction, but that “the dispute over the lifting of sanctions is still deep.”
“We are still below the required level of work to revive the nuclear agreement,” the sources added.
For his part, Iranian chief negotiator Ali Bagheri said, “We discussed mechanisms to verify the lifting of sanctions with the Europeans, exchanged written messages regarding lifting sanctions and its mechanisms, and made good progress.”
“We hope for more serious work in the field of lifting sanctions, with the resumption of negotiations later,” Bagheri added.
Before announcing the suspension of negotiations, the Iranian chief negotiator met with the heads of delegations of the European countries, namely France, Britain and Germany, as well as the European Union representative in the negotiations, Enrique Mora.
Bagheri stressed that the talks are “positive and are proceeding well”, and said that Iran will return from its nuclear measures after verifying that the sanctions have been lifted in practice.
Western sources in Vienna had quoted Bagheri as confirming the peaceful nature of his country’s nuclear program, and its readiness to subject it to monitoring.
The sources added that Bagheri informed the European parties of Tehran’s readiness to return to the agreement, and to abide by all its provisions, on the condition that the United States return to it and lift sanctions.
Earlier, the representative of the European Union said that there are serious intentions from the parties to make the talks a success, and that there is progress showing on technical points regarding Iran’s requests.
Biden and Putin
On the other hand, a senior official in the US administration revealed that President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss the Vienna talks, during their call today.
The official said the United States and its European and Russian partners are coordinating closely in Vienna and working together constructively during the talks.
For his part, Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov said that senior officials from the United States and Russia met in Vienna, explaining that he met twice yesterday with the US special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley.
Separately, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had a phone call with his counterparts from France, Germany and Britain, and Iranian nuclear talks were among the topics discussed, according to the US State Department.