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August 9, 2022 2:59 am

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Iran, U.S. top negotiators to travel to Vienna for nuclear pact talks

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Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrives at Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, February 28, 2022. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and a senior U.S. envoy will travel to Vienna this week for talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact, officials from both governments said on Wednesday, rekindling a process that stalled in June.

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Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Tehran was ready to reach a deal that guarantees its rights, according to state media.

“(Iranian negotiator) Bagheri Kani will leave Tehran in a few hours … In this round of talks, which will be held as usual with the coordination of the European Union, ideas presented by different sides will be discussed,” Kanaani said

Providing no further details, a U.S. official said Rob Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, will travel to Vienna for talks this week on reviving the nuclear agreement. read more

Last month, top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the accord under which Iran curbed its nuclear programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.

In 2018, then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh U.S. sanctions, spurring Tehran to begin breaching the nuclear limits set in the pact.

The deal seemed near revival in March after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and President Joe Biden’s administration in Vienna.

But talks then broke down over obstacles including Tehran’s demand that Washington should give guarantees that no U.S. president would abandon the deal as Trump did.

Biden cannot promise this because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political understanding, not a legally-binding treaty.

In June, the EU-mediated, indirect talks between Bagheri Kani and Malley aimed at breaking an impasse over how to salvage the 2015 nuclear pact ended in Qatar without the progress.

“Iran is determined to reach a stable agreement that guarantees the rights and interests of the Iranian nation,” Kanaani said, calling on Washington to “provide the conditions for the effective progress of the talks by taking the necessary decisions”.

An Iranian official told Reuters that the talks in Vienna will be “in the format of the Doha meeting”, where EU envoy Enrique Mora shuttled between Bagheri Kani and Malley because Tehran refused to hold direct talks with Washington.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mora tweeted: “On my way to Vienna to discuss #JCPOA back to full implementation on the basis of the coordinator’s text tabled on 20 July.”

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