By John Irish and Parisa Hafezi
PARIS (Reuters) -Some parties to the Iran nuclear talks need more time before resuming negotiations in Vienna and a new round is unlikely before next week, Russia’s envoy said on Thursday.
Iran and the United States have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
“The #ViennaTalks on #JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) will resume as soon as all the participating states are ready for what is supposed to be the final stage of negotiations,” Mikhail Ulyanov, Moscow’s ambassador to the U.N. atomic watchdog, said on Twitter.
“This isn’t the case in point yet. Some participants need more time. Looks like we will meet in Vienna not earlier than next week.”
The Vienna talks, which began in April, are now in a pause that had been expected to last until early July. Diplomats from both sides have said major differences remain and want the other side to make greater concessions before resuming.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the agreement in 2018, to which Tehran responded by starting to violate some of the nuclear limits in 2019 while sticking to its position that it had no nuclear weapons ambitions.
“As the U.S. exited the deal, we need to make sure it won’t happen again. This is one of Iran’s red lines. We never left the deal, therefore, it is Washington that should give us assurances that it will not happen again when the administration changes,” a senior Iranian official said.
“We are not in a rush,” the official said, adding that a resumption of talks next week depended on Washington making a “tough political decision.”
A Western diplomat said it was still possible that the talks would resume next week.
A second source familiar with the matter echoed this, saying nothing was set and attributed the uncertainty to internal Iranian discussions after last month’s Iranian presidential election won by hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi. The president-elect backs talks between Iran and six world powers to revive the nuclear https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/irans-raisi-says-foreign-policy-wont-be-limited-by-nuclear-deal-2021-06-21deal but rejected meeting U.S. President Joe Biden even if Washington removed all sanctions.
“We could resume next week but … they (the Iranians) are having their post-election consultations and they need to run their course,” said this source. “It is … a function of their internal deliberations and of the transition that is under way.”
France’s ambassador to the United Nations Nicolas de Riviere, a former negotiator in the talks, on Wednesday threw the ball back in Iran’s court.
“After six negotiation sessions, the parameters of this return to an agreement are clearly identified and the most difficult questions remain to be resolved,” he told the U.N. Security Council. “It is now crucial that the courageous trade-offs that are required are taken to conclude the negotiations and allow the swift return of all parties to the agreement.”
He said the process could not go on indefinitely as the parameters and benefits of a return to the 2015 accord would not be the same after a certain period of time.
(Reporting by John Irish;Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington;Editing by Alison Williams, Raissa Kasolowsky and Grant McCool)