Brussels (Brussels Morning) Iran has reportedly called for a pause in the ongoing nuclear treaty talks in Vienna until the administration of the new President Ebrahim Raisi takes shape and begins its work.
Citing a diplomatic source, Reuters reports that Iran’s envoys have relayed this request to the European officials, who are acting as intermediaries in the indirect talks with the US over reviving the now-defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The negotiations, which first started in April, involve Iran, the EU, Germany and four permanent UN Security Council members – the UK, France, Russia and China. The US participated indirectly, represented by European interlocutors, who served to relay key points between Tehran and Washington.
The stated goal of the negotiations is to restart the nuclear treaty, ending the US sanctions against Tehran and returning the Iranian nuclear programme back to full compliance with the treaty’s terms, designed to ensure Tehran can only develop civilian nuclear capabilities.
The JCPOA, which was signed in 2015 during the administration of former US President Barack Obama and the now departing President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, was hailed in its time as a great diplomatic breakthrough for both countries. However, US President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the treaty in 2018, pushing Iran into an escalating series of breaches of the treaty’s provisions.
The two sides remain locked in a stalemate, as Iran demands US must act first and lift all sanctions before it will return to full compliance. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden insists Tehran should comply first in order for the US to then lift sanctions.
The last round of Vienna negotiations, held in June, reportedly led to a certain degree of progress. Now it appears that the next round will not be held in July, as previously planned. Instead, it will have to wait for August, when hardliner Raisi is to be sworn in. It remains unclear whether Iran will be ready to continue as soon as Raisi assumes office, or whether Tehran will insist on waiting until Raisi’s entire administration is in place.