Negotiation teams of parties gathered on Sunday in Vienna to resume talks about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. The last meeting came following the presidential election that a hardline candidate Ebrahim Raisi had a landslide victory on Friday.
Following the meeting held on Sunday, the parties decided to give a break to nuclear talks, and delegations returned to their capitals. According to two diplomats familiar with the talks, the break is expected to last about 10 days.
Meanwhile, some statements show that an agreement is likely to be reached in the next round of talks. Iran’s Foreign Minister Saaed Khatibzadeh announced that the parties had reached an agreement on a clear text on all issues in the last round of talks held on Sunday. Stressing that the next round of talks in Vienna could be the last, Khatibzadeh said, “If a political decision is taken, we can be hopeful that we have reached the final point of the negotiations.”
Abbas Araqchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran and the head of the Iranian negotiation team in Vienna, also confirmed that an agreement is closer than ever. Stating his hope that the talks would be concluded during the term of President Hassan Rouhani, Araqchi added that delegations returned to their home not only for consultation but also for decision-making.
Upon the question regarding could Iranian stance change under new president Ebrahim Raisi, Araqchi stated that it is not likely that Iran’s stance changes even after the transition of government.
It was also reported that Western officials urged the Iranian delegation that the talks could not maintain indefinitely in the last meeting. Known as the European 3 “E3”, British, French, and German diplomats reportedly said, “As we have stated before, time is on nobody’s side. These talks cannot be open-ended.”
On the other hand, contrary statements were reported from the US side. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that there was still “a fair distance to travel” on key issues, including sanctions and commitments that Iran has to make about the nuclear file.
Since April, Iran and world powers have been engaged in talks to revive the nuclear deal, which the United States unilaterally withdrew from in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump.