Iranian diplomat hails ‘constructive’ talks with world powers over nuclear deal


Iran’s deputy foreign minister said discussions in Austria with representatives from nations that want to salvage an unravelling nuclear accord were “good”.

Seyed Abbas Araghchi told reporters after Sunday’s meeting ended that “the atmosphere was constructive, and the discussions were good”, adding: “I cannot say that we resolved everything” but all the parties were still “determined to save this deal”.

Representatives from Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union participated in the meeting.

Iran is pressuring the remaining parties to the deal to offset sanctions President Donald Trump reinstated after pulling the United States from the 2015 agreement last year.

The diplomats planned to examine issues linked to the implementation of the nuclear accord after Iran surpassed stockpile and enrichment limits set out in the deal.

Iran recently began surpassing uranium enrichment limits in the 2015 nuclear deal, saying these moves can be reversed if the other parties to the agreement – Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union – come up with enough economic incentives to offset the US sanctions.

Experts warn that higher enrichment and a growing stockpile narrow the one-year window Iran would need to have enough material to make an atomic bomb, something Iran denies it wants but the deal prevented.

Journalists waiting for a meeting with EU political director Helga Schmid and Iran’s deputy goreign minister Abbas Araghchi

Last week, French authorities, in a meeting with an Iranian envoy, stressed the need for Tehran to quickly respect the 2015 nuclear accord it has breached and “make the needed gestures” to de-escalate mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf region.

Iran has taken increasingly provocative actions against ships in the Gulf, including seizing a British tanker, and downing a US drone.

Mr Trump pulled the US out of the deal last year unilaterally, saying he wanted to negotiate a better one.

Under the provisions of the accord, signatories provided Iran with economic sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear programme, but the latest US sanctions have highlighted the inability of the Europeans, as well as Russia and China, to keep up with their commitments.

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