Talks to save Iran nuclear deal get off to good start

Iran, Russia and the US have reacted positively to the opening exchanges in a first day of talks in Vienna aimed at rescuing an international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

US President Joe Biden is ready to reverse the decision of Donald Trump to withdraw from the 2015 deal, negotiated to ensure that Iran never developed a military nuclear program.

After Moscow gave a positive assessment of the opening of the talks on Tuesday night, Washington’s reaction later was also upbeat. Iran, too, described the opening talks as constructive.

“I can say that overall, the meeting was constructive,” said the head of the Iranian delegation, Abbas Araghchi.

The US was not present at those discussions because Iran has refused to meet the American delegation so long as its sanctions against Tehran remain in place. The EU is acting as an intermediary.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Vienna-based envoy, said the meeting between those parties still in the deal – Iran, China, Britain, France, Germany and Russia – had been “successful”. It would take time to restore the agreement, he said.

“The most important thing after today’s meeting of the Joint Commission is that practical work towards achieving this goal has started,” he tweeted.

“We do see this as a constructive and certainly welcome step,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “It is a potentially useful step as we seek to determine what it is that the Iranians are prepared to do to return to compliance with the stringent limitations under the 2015 deal, and as a result what we might need to do to return to compliance ourselves.”

Read the article by Julia Zappei in The Australian.