Iran nuclear talks at 'urgent' point
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Thursday during a meeting in Berlin that urgent steps will need to be taken to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
What did Blinken and Baerbock say?
"There is real urgency and it's really now a matter of weeks, where we determine whether or not we can return to mutual compliance with the agreement," Blinken said during a joint press conference with Baerbock.
The top US diplomat said there had been "modest progress" in recent talks in Vienna. He also claimed that returning to "mutual compliance" with the deal is still possible.
Blinken's comments echo those of US President Joe Biden, who said Wednesday that it is not time to give up efforts to bring the 2015 agreement back to life.
Baerbock also said time was of the essence.
"The window for finding a solution is closing," she said. "The negotiations are in a decisive phase. We need urgent, urgent progress. Otherwise, we will not be successful in reaching a joint accord."
France complains about pace of negotiations
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was also in Berlin, said a change of approach was needed to salvage the deal.
He said progress in the negotiations so far had been "partial, timid and slow" and said it was necessary to "pick up the pace."
The remarks come as Iran moves forward with uranium enrichment, sparking concern in the West. The UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU are currently in the eighth round of talks in Vienna over the deal, with negotiations having resumed nearly two months ago.
The United States is indirectly involved in the talks. Former President Donald Trump had pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Biden, who took office at the beginning of 2021, has remained open to rejoining the JCPOA, but has been mostly unwilling to drop sanctions debilitating the Iranian economy.
wd/sms (Reuters, AFP)