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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Vienna talks progress ‘from words to drafting goals’ stage


Israeli military intelligence and senior Mossad officials believe that the Vienna talks will lead to Washington’s return to the nuclear deal.

Russia’s representative at the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov revealed on Monday that experts are now working on drafting proposals this week.

“Summing up the results of 2 weeks of deliberations on JCPOA restoration we can note with satisfaction that the negotiations entered the drafting stage. Practical solutions are still far away, but we have moved from general words to agreeing on specific steps towards the goal,” tweeted Ulyanov.

This comes following the formation of two working groups to ensure compliance in the accord – one to oversee the lifting of sanctions on Tehran and another to monitor its limitation of nuclear activity.

Earlier this week, a report by Axios stated that Israeli military intelligence and senior Mossad officials said they believe the current talks, which kicked off on April 6th, will lead to a US return to the JCPOA. Their remarks came during an Israeli cabinet meeting, the report added.

“We are not very optimistic to say the least,” a senior Israeli official who attended the meeting told Axios. “We will not be surprised if within weeks the US and other world powers sign a deal with Iran.”

Despite the progress, concerns over the fate of the talks have been raised in recent days after an attack on the Natanz nuclear facility. Responding to the ambush, Iran announced its decision to increase its nuclear enrichment at 60% purity, a move that concerned the European powers involved in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Iranian officials said that the enriched uranium is set to be used to produce molybdenum to manufacture radiopharmaceuticals.

Read also: Iran accuses GCC of attempting to ‘disrupt’ Vienna nuclear talks

Tehran has also pointed the blame for the attack on its nuclear enrichment facility towards Israel, due to its staunch rejection of the nuclear deal.

“If the Zionists conspire against our nation, we will respond. This [60% uranium enrichment] is the first step,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, vowing to take revenge for the attack.

On Sunday, Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan also told Fox News that the Vienna talks had been “constructive”.

“What I will say is that the United States is not going to lift sanctions unless we have clarity and confidence that Iran will fully return to compliance with its obligations under the deal,” he said.

Since assuming presidency, Joe Biden has expressed keenness to revive the historic deal, which had initially come into effect during his time as vice president to President Barack Obama in 2015.

To ensure the revival of the accord, powers involved in the deal – UK, France, China, Russia, the US and Germany – have been holding talks in Vienna.

According to Ulyanov, the Joint Commission of JCPOA will reconvene their meeting in-person on Tuesday.

“Before that a number of informal meetings in different formats will take place as always,” tweeted the Russian official.

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