Parties to the Iran nuclear agreement on Saturday adjourned the third round of negotiations in Vienna aimed at bringing the US back into the accord, with the Russian side expressing “cautious and growing optimism” and saying they hoped to achieve concrete results within three weeks.
A diplomatic source from the E3 powers of France, Germany and the UK said: “We have yet to come to an understanding on the most critical points. Success is by no means guaranteed, but not impossible.”
Iran’s delegation head and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi, speaking to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, said the negotiations had “reached a maturity.”
“We have started writing texts, and this is where the work actually progresses rather slowly, since working on the text requires accuracy, and considering that some issues are still disagreed on, the work goes on slowly,” he said.
“Sanctions that are ... sector-related ones, such as sanctions on Iran’s energy sector, which includes oil and gas, or sanctions on the auto industry, banking and finance, insurance and ports; based on agreements made so far, all these sanctions must be lifted, and there is agreement on it, too,” he added.
The deal, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, has been on life support since then-US president Donald Trump bolted in 2018.
The remaining partners to the 2015 accord have been engaged in negotiations since early last month to try to revive it.
The third round of talks started on Tuesday and, after several days of technical discussions between expert groups, delegations met on Saturday.
Representatives of the parties still in the agreement — Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and the UK — who met for just more than an hour noted the “indisputable progress” achieved, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote on Twitter, adding that he was cautiously optimistic.
“It’s too early to be excited, but we have reasons for cautious and growing optimism. There is no deadline, but participants aim at successful completion of the talks in approximately three weeks. Is it realistic? We will see,” he wrote.
The delegations are to return to their capitals and resume talks from Friday, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
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