Iran nuke talks adjourned
Negotiators for Iran and six world powers yesterday adjourned talks on reviving their 2015 nuclear deal and return to respective capitals for consultations as remaining differences still need to be overcome, officials said.
"We are now closer than ever to an agreement but the distance that exists between us and an agreement remains and bridging it is not an easy job," Iran's top negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state TV from Vienna. "We will return to Tehran tonight."
After more than a week of negotiations in their latest round, parties to the pact wrapped up with Russia's envoy saying no date for a resumption in negotiations had been set for now, although he suggested they could return in about 10 days.
Negotiations have been going on in Vienna since April to work out the nature and sequencing of steps Iran and the United States must take on nuclear activities and sanctions to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.
Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner and fierce critic of the West, won Iran's presidential election on Friday and will take office in early August, replacing pragmatist Hassan Rouhani, under whose aegis the 2015 deal was struck.
The Islamic Republic's arch-enemy, Israel, yesterday condemned Raisi's election. New Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said it would be a "regime of brutal hangmen" with which world powers should not negotiate a new nuclear accord.
However, Enrique Mora, the European Union political director, reported progress in the talks.
The United States under then-President Donald Trump left the deal in 2018, branding its terms too weak to remove the risk of Iran developing nuclear weapons potential, and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Iran has since breached the deal's strict limits on uranium enrichment, a possible path to a nuclear bomb. It has said its moves would be reversed if the United States rescinded all sanctions.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said disagreements over how to save the deal persisted, repeating that the ultimate decision on the issue lay with Khamenei.
Raisi, like Khamenei, has supported the nuclear talks as a route to cancelling US sanctions that have laid waste to the Islamic Republic's oil-based economy and dramatically worsened economic hardships, stirring widespread discontent.