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Iran: Negotiators head to Vienna to revive nuclear deal

August 3, 2022

Iranian state media reported Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani is traveling to Vienna. The US, EU and Russia confirmed their participation in the latest round of talks.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani
Iran's top nuclear negotiator said the US needs to "show maturity & act responsiblity" to save the JCPOA Image: Vahid Salemi/AP/picture alliance

Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, said he will travel to Vienna on Wednesday for talks to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said: "In this round of talks, which will be held as usual with the coordination of the European Union, ideas presented by different sides will be discussed."

Last month, the European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell said he proposed a new draft text in the hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Later on Wednesday, the US and Russia confirmed their participation in the talks. US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said he was "preparing to travel to Vienna on basis of @JosepBorrellF's text."

"Our expectations are in check, but the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal," Malley tweeted. "It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared to do the same."  

Russia's chief representative to the Vienna negotiations, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that "Russian negotiators stand ready for constructive talks in order to finalize the agreement."  

What format will the latest round of talks take?

The EU earlier mediated indirect talks between Bagheri Kani and Malley. Those talks ended in June in Qatar without much progress. 

The meetings are expected to take the format they did in Doha, where EU envoy Enrique Mora shuttled between the two sides as Tehran refuses direct talks.

On Twitter, Mora wrote, "On my way to Vienna to discuss #JCPOA back to full implementation on the basis of the coordinator's text tabled on 20 July." 

Why does the 2015 Iran deal need to be revived?

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed stiff sanctions. He criticized the deal signed by his predecessor as being not strict enough.

The US exit from the deal led Iran to begin testing the limits set down in the agreement.

After 11 months of indirect talks between Iran and American negotiators in Vienna, the deal seemed near a reprisal in March of this year.

Those hopes were dashed though over Tehran's demand that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps from the US government list of designated foreign terrorist organizations.

ar/aw (AFP, Reuters)