E3 diplomats unsure if Iran talks to resume where last ended

European diplomats unsure if Iran talks to resume where ended in June
2 min read
30 November, 2021
Senior British, French and German diplomats, a group known as the E3, told reporters at a briefing there was urgency in reaching a conclusion on reviving the pact but they did not want to impose artificial deadlines.
After a five-month hiatus, diplomats on Monday resumed talks on reviving the pact [Getty]

European diplomats said on Tuesday they could now get down to business in negotiations on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran but they still did not know if Tehran would resume the talks where they left off in June, when a draft accord was 70-80% complete.

After a five-month hiatus, diplomats on Monday resumed talks on reviving the pact, which then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 in a move that infuriated Iran and dismaying the other powers involved - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

Senior British, French and German diplomats, a group known as the E3, told reporters at a briefing there was urgency in reaching a conclusion on reviving the pact but they did not want to impose artificial deadlines.

Under the agreement, Iran limited its uranium enrichment program, a process that can yield fissile material for bombs, in return for relief from U.S., EU and U.N. economic sanctions. Iran says its nuclear program is for solely peaceful purposes.

Whether Iran agrees to resume talks from where they left off in June, with the election of anti-Western hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran's president, is key because if they are starting from a blank page the talks will presumably take longer.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani took an ambiguous stance, suggesting that everything negotiated during the six rounds of talks between April and June remained open for discussion.

"What was discussed at the six previous rounds of talks in Vienna resulted in a draft and not an agreement. And a draft is subject to negotiations," Bagheri Kani told reporters.

"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So all the issues concluded in the previous rounds of talks can be negotiated and it was agreed by all parties to the deal." (Reporting by Francois Murphy and Parisa Hafezi; writing by John Irish and Arshad Mohammed)