Fri, 30 Jul 2021

Negotiators have adjourned talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal for consultations in their capitals, the European Union's envoy to the negotiations said.

Enrique Mora gave no indication when the talks would resume but said progress had been made on June 20 and that the participants would have a clearer idea of how to close a deal when they return.

Russian envoy Mikhael Ulyanov told reporters nobody knew when the talks would resume but on Twitter echoed Mora in saying that negotiators were heading back to their respective capitals.

Negotiators 'took stock of the significant progress made at the #ViennaTalks, including at the sixth round, and decided to make a break to allow participants to consult with their capitals in preparation for what is supposed to be the final round of negotiations.'

Iran's top negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said earlier the sides had moved closer to reviving the 2015 deal, and he expected delegations to return to their respective capitals for consultations after the June 20 talks conclude.

'We are now closer than ever to an agreement but the distance that exists between us and an agreement remains and bridging it is not an easy job,' Araqchi told Iranian state TV.

The United States in 2018 withdrew from the landmark pact, under which Iran agreed to curtail its nuclear ambitions in exchange for a lifting of many foreign sanctions against it.

Officials have recently indicated that differences remain on key issues. The French Foreign Ministry said on June 16 that 'significant disagreements persist.'

'The Joint Commission of #JCPOA will meet on Sunday, June 20,' Russian negotiator Mikhail Ulyanov said on Twitter.

'It will decide on the way ahead at the #ViennaTalks. An agreement on restoration of the nuclear deal is within reach but is not finalized yet.'

The remaining parties to the deal are Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, and the European Union.

The United States is present, but not directly negotiating, mainly due to Iran's refusal to meet face-to-face. Instead, the U.S. delegation is at a nearby location in Vienna, with the other delegations and EU as go-betweens.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 deal, Tehran has rebuilt some of its stockpiles of enriched uranium, a potential pathway to weapons.

Trump's successor, Joe Biden, has indicated a willingness to rejoin the agreement once Washington is certain that Tehran is willing to respect its commitments.

Further complicating the talks was the victory of ultraconservative judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi in Iran's presidential election on June 18.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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