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Nuclear talks harder as West ‘pretends’ to take initiative

Nuclear talks harder as West ‘pretends’ to take initiative

Negotiators of the Iranian nuclear deal meet on December 9, 2021, in Vienna, Austria, ‘determined to work hard’ to save the 2015 deal after the talks resumed. Photos: AFP

A senior Iranian security official said on Monday that progress in talks to salvage Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal was becoming “more difficult” as Western powers only “pretended” to come up with initiatives.

The indirect talks in Austria between Iran and the US resumed last week after a 10-day break. Delegates have said the talks have made limited progress since they resumed in November after a five-month hiatus prompted by the election of hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“The work of Iranian negotiators towards progress is becoming more difficult every moment… while Western parties ‘pretend’ to come up with initiatives to avoid their commitments,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Twitter.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to the talks in Vienna, said on Twitter hours earlier: “Significant progress has been made in the course of negotiations.”

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there was still a long way to go before the 2015 deal could be revived. Iran’s nuclear advances were curbed in exchange for the loosening of US and other economic sanctions.

The agreement imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities that extended the time Tehran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to at least a year from around two to three months. Most experts say that time is now shorter than when the deal was struck.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Reuters