The US and Iranian delegations will return to Vienna this week, nearly five months after the suspension of the indirect talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between international powers and Iran.
Top European Union official Enrique Mora announced on Twitter Wednesday that he was heading to the Austrian capital to discuss returning to full implementation of the nuclear agreement on the basis of a proposal put forward by EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in recent weeks.
A senior European source told Asharq Al-Awsat that only the Iranian and US sides would participate in the new round of indirect talks, while the other parties to the nuclear agreement (France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China) would not be present.
For his part, Rob Malley, the US special envoy for Iran, said Wednesday that he was preparing to travel to Vienna for discussions based on Borrell’s proposal.
“Our expectations are in check, but the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal. It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same,” Malley wrote on Twitter.
On the other hand, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said that the ball was in the US court to save the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Heading to Vienna to advance the negotiations,” Bagheri tweeted. “The Onus is on those who breached the deal and have failed to distance from ominous legacy. The US must seize the opportunity offered by the JCPOA partner’ generosity; ball is in their court to show maturity and act responsibly.”
Meanwhile, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, reiterated Tehran’s conditions for restarting surveillance cameras at its nuclear facilities.
“As long as the other party is not in the nuclear agreement and has not fulfilled its obligations, there is no reason to continue with an expired text,” he said, adding: “As long as they do not return to their commitments, and do not drop the false accusations, the cameras will not be installed.
The announcement of a return to indirect negotiations came two days after Iran operated hundreds of advanced centrifuges at the Natanz facility, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, on Monday.
In parallel, the US administration unveiled a new set of sanctions targeting illicit support for the Iranian oil industry.
According to Blinken, Monday’s sanctions target “six entities facilitating illicit transactions related to Iranian petroleum as well as petroleum and petrochemical products, key sources of revenue for the Iranian government.”