Biden says Iran serious about negotiations
The European Union on Saturday voiced satisfaction about a “sense of urgency” shared by all participants in the Vienna talks that seek to revitalize the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
The remaining parties to the nuclear deal – Iran, France, Britain, Germany, Russia, and China – resumed the fourth round of weekly discussions on Friday in the Austrian capital on how to bring US back to the accord three years after former president Donald Trump walked out of it and reimposed tough sanctions on Iran.
EU representative Enrique Mora said that, as coordinator, he feels “a certain sense of urgency” about the Vienna talks though there are “no deadlines”.
“Time is not on our side. Happy to see that all delegations, including Iran and the US, say they share that sense,” he tweeted.
The EU is coordinating the talks and an official from the bloc said that the latest round “should probably be a longer round than the three before because... by now everybody has an idea of how the agreement would look”.
The aim of the talks is a return to full compliance with the 2015 accord, known as the JCPOA, which has been slowly disintegrating since Trump’s withdrawal in 2018, which prompted Iran to reduce its commitments to the deal a year later in retaliation, AFP wrote.
Trump's successor Joe Biden has said he wishes to rejoin the JCPOA, and an American official said on Thursday an agreement was “possible” in the coming weeks, before Iran’s June 18 presidential elections.
US officials returned to Vienna for the fourth round of talks. They are not taking part in the meetings directly and European diplomats are acting as intermediaries.
Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, who heads Iran’s delegation to the Vienna meetings, hailed the “new energy” and “seriousness of all sides” at the talks.
Araqchi said the US expressed its readiness to lift many of its sanctions but Iran demands more.
“The information transferred to us from the American side is that they are also serious on returning to the nuclear deal and they have so far declared their readiness to lift a great part of their sanctions,” Araqchi told National TV on Friday.
“But this is not adequate from our point of view and, therefore, the discussions will continue until we get all our demands,” Araqchi said.
After Friday’s meeting, experts from the various delegations carried on meeting in working groups, according to an EU spokesman.
Araqchi said that he hoped the talks could reach a conclusion “in the shortest time possible”.
He also rejected suggestions that the Iranian presidential election was affecting the timescale of the talks, saying the election was “an important issue in the country, but it has nothing to do with the negotiations”.
In Washington, US President Biden said he believed Iran was seriously engaging in the talks but it was unclear what Tehran was actually prepared to do for both sides to resume compliance with the JCPOA, according to Reuters.
Asked at the White House if he thought Tehran was serious about talks, Biden replied: “Yes, but how serious, and what they are prepared to do is a different story. But we’re still talking.”
The White House said on Friday that sanctions on Iran could only be lifted if the country comes back into compliance with the JCPOA.
There has been some progress made in talks between world powers and Iran, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, and it is a good sign that talks are continuing.