In Vienna, Iranian nuclear negotiations remain at a standstill

The first week of discussions had been disappointing. And, in spite of the continuation of the negotiations, the file still does not advance between Tehran and the representatives of the three European countries which try, in Vienna, to save the agreement of 2015 on the Iranian nuclear program (called JCPoA in English for “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ”).

“At this stage, it has not yet been possible to enter into real negotiations”, said diplomatic officials from France, Germany and Britain. “We are wasting precious time in the discussion [sur] new Iranian positions incompatible with the JCPoA or going beyond what it foresees ”, they regretted.

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After a five-month hiatus, negotiations to save the Iran nuclear deal resumed on November 29 in Vienna. They bring together the countries still parties to the agreement signed in 2015 in the Austrian capital, namely the three Europeans as well as China, Russia and Iran. The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 and reinstated sanctions against Tehran under President Donald Trump, is participating indirectly.

“This situation is frustrating because the outlines of a fair and comprehensive agreement, allowing the lifting of all the sanctions linked to the JCPoA and responding to our non-proliferation concerns are clearly known, and this since last summer”, specified the European diplomats. “But time is running out. In the absence of rapid progress, given the rapid advance of Iran’s nuclear program, the JCPoA will very soon become an empty shell. “

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Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri reported progress on Sunday. “The two sides are close to agreeing on the issues that should be on the agenda. This is a positive and important development because, at the beginning, they did not even agree on the issues to be negotiated ”, Mr. Bagheri had declared to the official Iranian agency IRNA.

The West, for their part, accused the Iranians of having backtracked from the spring. American diplomacy openly suspects the enemy country of wanting to gain time in parallel to develop its nuclear program, which brings it closer and closer to the bomb.

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Washington has warned in recent days that it will not let Tehran adopt this attitude for much longer, and has confirmed that a still unclear Plan B is in preparation. But this is the first time that a member country of the agreement has said that these are the last-ditch negotiations.

The World with AFP

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In Vienna, Iranian nuclear negotiations remain at a standstill