EU’s Mora to meet Iran chief nuclear negotiator in Tehran on Saturday

The European Union official coordinating nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers said on Friday he will meet with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Tehran on Saturday.

The EU’s Enrique Mora, who coordinates talks between Iran and world powers in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, said he will meet with Iran’s deputy foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani in Tehran to try to close “the remaining gaps” in the talks.

“We must conclude this negotiation. Much is at stake,” Mora wrote on Twitter.

The talks appeared close to an agreement earlier this month but were then paused following last-minute demands by Russia.

The pause came days after Moscow said it wanted written guarantees from Washington that Russia’s economic and military cooperation with Iran would not be harmed by Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Talks aimed at reviving the 2015 deal between the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – have been taking place in Vienna for almost a year.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Tehran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday Washington “will work very closely with our international partners to increase the pressure on Iran” if diplomatic efforts to contain Tehran’s fast-advancing nuclear program fail.

The Vienna talks, which began in April 2021, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement. The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, responded by expanding its nuclear program, breaching most of the deal’s restrictions.

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