Iran upbeat about nuclear talks in Vienna

Tehran, Apr 20 (EFE).- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that negotiations in Vienna aimed at reinstating the 2015 pact regulating his country’s nuclear program have made a lot of progress.

“The talks have advanced around 60 (percent), 70 percent,” he said in comments published on the official website of the presidency. “If the Americans act within the framework of honesty, we will achieve results in a short time.”

“The enemy’s economic war and maximum pressure have failed,” Rouhani said.

Iran’s negotiating posture is “stronger than in the past,” the president said, alluding to the conversations leading to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that Tehran signed in 2015 with the United States, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

He hailed the JCPOA as a “very important multilateral accord,” but said that while Iran welcomes the opportunity for negotiations, Tehran would not be rushed into anything.

Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent – the minimum needed for a nuclear weapon is 90 percent – in return for a lifting of sanctions.

In 2018, then US President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign of escalating sanctions against Iran.

The other signatories to the 2015 pact sought to preserve the JCPOA, but Washington’s threats of imposing secondary sanctions on entities doing business with Iran crippled those efforts.

A year after the US pulled out, Iran began enriching uranium to 20 percent, citing a provision of the JCPOA that allows Tehran to depart from some of the conditions in the event of non-compliance by other parties.

Last week, Iran announced that it was boosting uranium enrichment levels to 60 percent in response to a sabotage attack on the Natanz nuclear plant.

The Vienna negotiations began a couple of weeks ago with the US delegation taking part indirectly through mediators in the face of an Iranian refusal to have them at the table because Washington withdrew from the JCPOA.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the heads of delegations discussed the status of the technical talks and the initial drafts of the texts, as well as the way in which the negotiations will continue.

The parties agreed to adjourn for consultations in the respective capitals before returning to Vienna for more talks.

Iran is represented in the discussions by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, who said the talks have made progress, while reiterating Tehran’s threat to walk out if the process results in “excessive demands, waste of time and irrational bargaining.” EFE mv/ta/dr

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