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Sixth-round of nuclear talks scheduled, more is likely to come

While the EU Envoy coordinating the talks is hopeful that an agreement seems likely to be reached in the next round of talks in Vienna, other diplomats and US officials see that more rounds would be required.

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The fifth round of the negotiations that are being held in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and ensure the return of the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 during former President Donald Trump’s term, had been wrapped up by the joint committee meeting that gathered last Wednesday.

Following the meeting on Wednesday, the negotiators returned to their capitals to discuss the latest stage that had been reached in Vienna with their governments, prior to coming together for the sixth round of talks. The remaining parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and Iran were announced to gather once again next week to hold the sixth round of the nuclear talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The last round of the talks was held amid speculations indicating that the parties reached an impasse in Vienna. Although senior diplomats participating in negotiations admitted that important progress had been made during the talks, they also emphasized that some key issues remained on the table and require further discussion.

On the other hand, for the Iranian side, Iran’s government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said, “There is no impasse in the Vienna talks… Negotiations have reached a stage where a few key issues need to be decided, and these issues require the proper attention, perfectionism, and time.”

In these circumstances, different approaches appeared regarding the future of the next round among the participating sides of the nuclear talks. While the European Union envoy, who coordinates the ongoing talks, is hopeful about a deal would be reached in the next round of talks, other senior diplomats and US officials are more cautious on this possibility.

Speaking to reporters after the fifth round of talks that were concluded, EU envoy Enrique Mora said, “I am sure that the next round will be the one in which we will finally get a deal.” However, negotiators from the group known as E3, consisting of the UK, France, and Germany that signed the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015, seem to disagree with Mora.

Issuing a statement regarding the ongoing negotiations, the senior diplomats said, “We have continued to make progress, and important parts of a future deal have now been fleshed out, but the most difficult decisions lie ahead. We have, of course, worked based on the principle of nothing is agreed until all is agreed.”

Meanwhile, the United States, which is involved in indirect talks with Iran through its EU partners, seems cautious about the ongoing negotiations in Vienna. Speaking to reporters, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We expect there will be a sixth. I think there is just about every expectation that there will be subsequent rounds beyond that.” Yet, Price also acknowledged the possibility that an agreement could be reached in the next round.

The sixth round of the negotiations will be held amid a few days until Iran’s June 18 presidential election, which is likely to usher in a hardline president.

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