Iran to send delegation to Vienna to resume nuclear deal talks

Iran to send delegation to Vienna to resume nuclear deal talks

Nuclear deal talks stalled over IAEA’s probe into undeclared nuclear sites in Iran

By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – Iran said Wednesday it will send a delegation to Vienna in the coming days to hold talks with officials of the UN nuclear watchdog in an effort to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

The announcement was made by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran.

"We will be sending a delegation from Iran to Vienna in the coming days to start talks and strengthen cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” he said.

The top diplomat said the talks are aimed at “resolving remaining issues” between the two sides in line with agreements reached during Iran nuclear agency chief Mohammad Eslami’s recent visit to Vienna.

“A consensus was reached between Eslami and (IAEA chief Rafael) Grossi and we hope that the agency will be able to pass this stage of technical cooperation,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

The Iranian minister also said he will be speaking to the European Union’s foreign policy chief and nuclear talks’ coordinator, Josep Borrell, to discuss coordination on the resumption of talks to revive the deal.

Indirect talks between Iran and the US on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, remain stalled since August.

One of the key sticking points has been Iran's demand that the UN nuclear watchdog drop its investigation into uranium traces found at three undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.

In September, a joint statement by France, Britain, and Germany criticized Iran for its demand to close the probe, blaming it for “jeopardizing” the marathon talks.

Amir-Abdollahian’s announcement came a day after Eslami called for an end to what he termed “accusations” by the IAEA, adding that if sanctions are lifted, Iran will reverse its nuclear measures.

In recent weeks, amid unrest in Iran over the death of a young woman in police custody and claims that Iran is supplying drones to Russia, the efforts to resume JCPOA talks have slowed down considerably.

Rob Malley, the US special envoy for Iran talks, said on Monday that nuclear negotiations with Iran were not currently a priority for the Joe Biden administration.

“It’s really not our focus right now, it’s not on the agenda because nothing has changed,” Malley said.

Although Iranian officials have not ruled out the resumption of the talks, President Ebrahim Raisi said during his New York visit in September that Tehran has “found a path independent of any agreement”.

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