Iran chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani heads to Vienna for nuclear pact talks

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani arrives at Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will travel to Vienna on Wednesday to hold talks for the revival of the 2015 nuclear pact, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson said, adding that Tehran is ready to reach a deal that guarantees its rights.

“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,” said Nasser Kanaani, according to state media.

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 an impasse over various issues such as Tehran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list has stalled progress.

The EU-mediated, indirect talks between Bagheri Kani and Washington’s special Iran envoy Rob Malley aimed at breaking an impasse over how to salvage the 2015 nuclear pact ended in June 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 said that the talks in Vienna will be “in the format of the Doha meeting”, where EU’s envoy Enrique Mora shuttled between Iran’s Bagheri Kani and Washington’s 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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