By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – Talks between Iran and the world powers in Vienna aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal adjourned again on Friday, with parties returning to their respective capitals.
The latest round of negotiations was called off after the meeting of the joint commission, with parties – Iran and P4+1 (China, Russia, France, UK, and Germany) – likely to reconvene after the Christmas holidays.
Iran's lead nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani told reporters after Friday's meeting that in the draft document on lifting sanctions, the other side had accepted Iran's offer as a "basis for serious, result-oriented talks," different from the text after the sixth round.
He said the pace of reaching an agreement depends on the "will of the other side," and that the present round of talks could be the last if Europeans accept Iran's views and positions.
In a statement earlier on Friday, the senior Iranian diplomat said he had met the top European representative Enrique Mora to "take stock of the situation" and "discuss the way forward, "noting "good progress" made this week.
He also said the talks will resume "after a break of a few days" following Friday's joint commission meeting, without saying who asked for it.
Mora, speaking to reporters after the talks were adjourned, said they had established a "very good working relationship" with the Iranian side, adding that there is a "sense of urgency" to reach an agreement.
"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us," he asserted, adding that "difficult political decisions" are required for a breakthrough.
He said the European parties have included Tehran's proposals in the text being worked out, which "covers all aspects of the negotiations," implying both sanctions removal and nuclear measures.
E3 negotiators – France, Britain and Germany – pointed out the "technical progress" in the latest round of talks and said "it is critical that Iran avoids further escalatory steps in its nuclear activities."
They said the talks were paused at the Iranian side's request, calling the decision "disappointing," and urging Iran to resume the talks quickly and to "engage constructively".
This round of talks, especially after the parties regrouped earlier this month following a brief pause, has seen notable progress with P4+1 agreeing to discuss Iran's new proposals along with the text related to previous six rounds of talks, sources told Anadolu Agency.
However, there have been tensions between Iran and the three European countries, with both sides accusing each other of attempting to derail the talks.
Iran's state-run news agency on Friday accused the E3 of playing "a negative and destructive role" in the talks in a bid to "increase their concessions".
The seventh round of talks resumed last month after a gap of five months, during which a new government took over in Tehran, which has adopted a tougher stance, prioritizing the removal of sanctions over other contentious issues.
Iran says the Biden administration must lift sanctions imposed by the previous US administration under its maximum pressure campaign, and provide guarantee that the future US administration will not breach the agreement again.
Former US President Donald Trump had quit the deal in May 2018, three years after it was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.