Iran nuclear negotiators in session in Vienna. December 9, 2021

Iran nuclear negotiators in session in Vienna. December 9, 2021

State Media Say No Retreat From Iran's Demands In Vienna Talks

12/10/2021

After a report that Iran is ready to work on the basis of earlier nuclear talks, state media insisted there has been no change in Tehran’s negotiating posture.

A European source quoted by Reuters had said earlier Friday that Iran was willing to continue the Vienna talks on the basis of texts prepared in June and added that world powers would test in the next couple of days whether this was true.

Iran government news website IRNA claimed on Friday that talks are progressing based on proposals Iran made last week, while the United States and its European allies had dismissed two documents Iran had presented as a basis of talks.

Tasnim news agency affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard said that there has been no change in Iran’s negotiating position. The agency quoted a source close to Iran’s negotiating team that “Our negotiating position has not been changed and [Iran] has not taken back its draft [proposals]. The other parties have accepted to continue talks on the basis of Iran’s demands.”

It is not clear if Iran's denials of accepting the June agreement as basis for more talks is aimed at a domestic audience to portray toughness.

The new government in Tehran has been demanding that all US sanctions imposed since Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal to be removed at once before it agrees to scale back nuclear activities it has expanded since 2019.

Talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Thursday with the United States and Israel ramping up the rhetorical pressure on Tehran about the possible economic or military consequences if diplomacy fails.

Iran's top negotiator said at the Thursday session that Tehran was sticking to the stance it laid out last week, when the talks broke off with European and U.S. officials accusing Iran of making new demands and of reneging on compromises worked out earlier this year.

"Iran said it accepted to work from the June texts. This will now be put to the test over the next couple of days," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Working groups to discuss sanctions Washington might lift and the nuclear curbs Tehran needs to observe convene on Friday.

"Iran's seriousness is obvious. See who has cancelled other meetings and is in Vienna and who is not," Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani told Reuters.

His comments suggested he was alluding to the United States' chief negotiator Rob Malley, who is not expected to arrive in the Austrian capital until the weekend.

"Negotiations on Iran’s (new) drafts are going on," Bagheri Kani added.

Western officials have said Iran has abandoned any compromises it had made in the previous six rounds of talks, pocketed those made by others, and demanded more last week.

Iran wants all sanctions imposed by the United States after then-U.S. President Donald Trump ditched the deal in 2018, to be lifted in a verifiable process. Iran began violating the deal's nuclear restrictions about a year after the U.S. withdrawal.

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