Iran expects nuclear talks in Vienna to restart within days

Moscow (AFP) –


Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Moscow on Wednesday that he expects negotiations on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to restart in Vienna soon.

The deal, which gave Iran sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear programme, has been on life support since 2018 when then-US president Donald Trump withdrew from the accord.

US President Joe Biden has signalled a willingness to return to the deal, but his Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that time was running out and the ball was in Iran's court.

On Wednesday Iran's foreign minister said the nuclear talks could resume soon.

"We are now finalising consultations on this matter and will soon restore our negotiations in Vienna," Amir-Abdollahian told reporters after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

In Tehran, parliament's national security and foreign policy commission spokesman Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini said the talks would resume "in coming days".

"The messages and signals from Western countries point to the start of a new cycle of talks," he said, quoted by Iran's Tasmim news agency.

The Iranian side would be led by "the foreign ministry or the Supreme National Security Council", whose decisions must be confirmed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"Normally, the country's broad strategic lines are defined by the Supreme Council and implemented by the foreign ministry," Meshkini said.

Iran has gradually rolled back its nuclear commitments since 2019, a year after Trump withdrew the United States from the multilateral accord and began imposing sanctions.

Despite Biden's decision to reverse Trump's move, talks in Vienna to revive the accord have been at an impasse since June, when Iran's ultraconservative new President Ebrahim Raisi was elected.

Lavrov said Wednesday that the negotiations "should be resumed as soon as possible" and called on the United States to return to its obligations under the accord.

The Russian foreign minister said the international community was waiting for the United States to "return to legal obligations of the nuclear deal" and end "illegal restrictions on Iran and all of its trading partners".