Palais Coburg hotel where Iran nuclear talks take place. December 9, 2021

Palais Coburg hotel where Iran nuclear talks take place. December 9, 2021

First Session Of Nuclear Talks Ends, With Iran Reaffirming Its Demands


The first session of Iran’s nuclear talks ended in Vienna Thursday with Tehran saying that it has returned to negotiations with its previously held positions.

Iran's top negotiator in nuclear talks said on Thursday that he had insisted Tehran was serious in the negotiations, underlining that Iran was continuing talks based on its previous positions.

The session ended in just one hour, which could be a sign that it was more of a formality and no real discussion took place.

"Iran underlined that it seriously continues the talks based on its previous position," Ali Bagheri Kani told reporters after talks resumed in Vienna.

"Iran is serious about reaching an agreement if the ground is paved …. The fact that all sides want the talks to continue shows that all parties want to narrow the gaps."

The United States and its three European allies, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, after last week’s round of talks were dismayed by Iran’s positions, saying that Tehran had retreated in agreements made earlier this year in six rounds of talks.

One point of contention is synchronization between the lifting of US sanctions and Iran’s return to its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, JCPOA. This was an important topic of negotiations in the first six rounds of talks from April to June. However, Iran is now demanding that the United States must lift all post-2018 sanctions at once, before it agrees to cancel escalatory nuclear steps it has been taking since 2019.

If Iran insists on its positions, it appears little progress can be made in Vienna, in what the British foreign minister had called Iran’s “last chance.”

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday that the “runway is getting very, very short for negotiation” and that if Iran was not in Vienna “in a substantive, a genuine, a constructive way" then the US would raise the “topic of discussion with [Israeli] Defense Minister [Benny] Gantz.” Israel has reportedly allocated $1.5 billion for an attack on Iran.

Reuters quoted an unnamed US official on Wednesday that Israeli and American defense chiefs would discuss possible joint military drills in case the nuclear talks fail, and political leaders decide to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

The US has been tightening sanctions. It sanctioned Tuesday nine Iranians – along with five Syrians and a Ugandan – as a prelude to a US ‘Summit for Democracy.’ The US announced Thursday it was next week sending a delegation, including the head of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, to the United Arab Emirates.

With reporting by Reuters

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