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US and European allies look pessimistic as Iran nuclear talks break down in Vienna


Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken said: “Iran doesn’t seem serious at the moment in doing what it takes to come back into compliance” with the 2015 agreement, “which is why we ended this round of talks at Vienna”.

Representatives from the United States – which abandoned the treaty under the Trump administration – and the remaining parties to the accord have gathered in the Austrian capital for the seventh round of talks aimed at saving the Global Action Plan. Joint Area 2015 (JCPOA).

The Biden administration has pushed for new negotiations aimed at bringing both Washington and Tehran into compliance, but after six rounds of negotiations with Iran and other parties – the European Union, France, Germany, Russia and China – Iran has fallen in love. request a pause during the organization. elections. That pause lasts six months until talks begin again on Monday, with a new hardline Iranian government continuing to develop Iran’s nuclear capabilities if it violates the deal.

“The first six rounds of talks have made progress, finding creative compromise solutions to many of the most difficult issues facing all sides,” a State Department spokesman said. “Unfortunately, Iran’s approach this week is not to try to solve the remaining problems.”

The US Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley and his team are on their way back to Washington, the spokesman said.

Senior European diplomats say Tehran is reverting to almost all of the tough compromises made after months of hard work in previous rounds of talks and demanding major changes. “After a thorough examination, we are disappointed and worried about the changes Iran proposed to the texts negotiated during the previous six rounds of talks in Vienna,” they told reporters.

Negotiators will return to their capitals to assess the situation and seek guidance before convening again next week to see if the gaps can be closed, European diplomats said. said. “Our government remains fully committed to a diplomatic path forward. But time is running out,” they said.

Blinken said Friday that “even Russia and China are clearly frustrated with what Iran is doing or not doing in these negotiations.”

As nuclear talks continue in Vienna, the game has only just begun

“We will consult very closely and carefully with all of our partners in this very process – the European countries, as well as Russia and China – as well as with other countries of great interest. , with Israel and the Gulf states, and we’ll see if Iran is seriously interested in participating, but the window is very, very tight,” he said at a Reuters event.

European diplomats note that since Iran disrupted the talks, it “has moved quickly with its nuclear program. This week it stepped back on the diplomatic progress it made. achieve.” They say that on the basis of the Iranian drafts, it is not clear how the gap between the two sides can be closed.

The original Iran nuclear deal committed the United States and its allies to relief from sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. After former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in May 2018, the US increased sanctions and after about a year, Iran began to deviate from the agreement, restarting its nuclear program.

The top US diplomat called Trump’s decision to quit the accord “a fatal mistake” because Tehran “used it as an excuse, despite maximum pressure on Iran, as well as abandoning the the country’s commitment to the accord and the inevitable rebuilding of the nuclear program. that the agreement was put in a box “- a position that Israeli leaders have also made public.

‘Unacceptable’

He noted that even as negotiations were restarted this week, Iran had already made new nuclear developments. Tehran has ignored calls to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Association. The IAEA reported Wednesday that Iran has begun producing uranium enriched to 20% using advanced centrifuges at its Fordow facility, and it has rejected calls to allow the IAEA to access the site. its Karaj kernel point.

“What is unacceptable and what we will not allow to happen is that Iran must try to prolong this process while continuing to move relentlessly forward in building its program,” Blinken said. .

“Iran has some very important decisions in the coming days,” he said. “We’ll either come back into compliance with the agreement or we’ll have to look at dealing with this in other ways.”

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