Vienna (dpa) – In the new negotiations in Vienna on the Iranian nuclear program, Iran believes an agreement is possible.
“We checked the results of the expert panel today. And it looks like a new agreement can be reached, ”Deputy Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian media in Vienna. According to Araghchi, Iran has drawn up a roadmap that would allow Iran to revert to technical obligations in the nuclear deal and lift US sanctions. There is still a long way to go, as there are still differences with the US, but the negotiating partners are on the right track.
The Vienna Accord, concluded in 2015, was designed to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons without denying civilian use of nuclear energy. In return, sanctions against Iran must be lifted.
Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov wrote on Facebook that afternoon that the meeting was over. “The participants were determined to continue the negotiations to bring the process to a successful conclusion as soon as possible.” The progress made so far has been “noticed”. He did not give details. Russia is one of the supporters of the talks.
The rescue of the 2015 nuclear deal has been under negotiation in Vienna since last week. Diplomats from Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China are trying to convince both the US and Iran to return to the nuclear deal and enforce it in accordance with the treaty. The US withdrew from the deal in 2018, and a year later Iran also violated almost all of the technical specifications in the deal.
According to nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran enriched its uranium up to 60 percent for the first time on Friday evening. Salehi also announced that Iran can now enrich 9 grams of 60 percent uranium every hour. Currently, uranium is being enriched to 20 and 60 percent at the same time at the Natans nuclear facility with the new centrifuges being produced in the country. Only 3.67 percent is allowed under the nuclear accord. According to President Hassan Ruhani, Iran could now enrich its uranium up to 90 percent and make it suitable for nuclear weapons – but does not want this.
US President Joe Biden in no way called Tehran’s advance useful. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki spoke of a provocation that casts doubt on the seriousness of the new nuclear negotiations in Tehran. A spokesman for EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said there was no credible explanation or non-military justification for the action from an EU perspective.
With higher uranium enrichment, Iran wants to increase pressure on the six signatory states of the Vienna nuclear accord so that US sanctions can be lifted. In addition, according to President Ruhani, the measure is in response to a sabotage attack on Natan’s nuclear facility last Sunday. He blamed Israel for sabotage. The Israeli government did not comment on the charges.
US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018. Trump argued that the deal does not close Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and does not allow unrestricted access for inspectors to certain military complexes. With a policy of maximum pressure, the US government at the time wanted to force leaders in Tehran to negotiate an agreement with tougher terms. Trump’s successor Joe Biden is now looking for a way back to the agreements. The time window is relatively small as there are presidential elections in Iran in June.
US sanctions have exacerbated Iran’s economic crisis. In particular, oil exports, the country’s main source of income, are blocked. Experts in Tehran say an end to the two-year crisis is not feasible without a political solution with the US. In addition, Iranian hardliners took advantage of the crisis to provoke a vote against moderate President Ruhani to rule the presidential election in their favor.