Iran Rejects Deadline, ‘Politically Motivated’ Claims in Nuclear Talks

DUBAI (Reuters) —
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani leaves after a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria, in 2021. (REUTERS/Lisi Niesner)

Iran said on Sunday it will not accept any deadline set by the West to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and wants “politically motivated” claims by U.N. watchdog IAEA about Tehran’s nuclear work to be dropped, Iranian state media reported.

“We have answered the agency’s (IAEA) questions or politically motivated claims … that we think were baseless. These dossiers should be closed,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to state media’s website.

Among sticking points in the indirect talks between Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 nuclear deal appear to be questions about uranium traces found by the IAEA at old but undeclared sites in Iran.

Iran accepts no deadlines,” Khatibzadeh said, in apparent reaction to media reports that the United States had set a deadline for the nuclear talks in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Iran‘s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will return to Vienna on Sunday evening for the talks, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Bagheri Kani, who flew to Tehran last week for consultations with Iranian officials, will “pursue the negotiations with a clear agenda aimed at resolving” the remaining issues, IRNA said.

Iran has made clear it wants an end to the oil and banking sanctions that are hurting its economy, while insisting also on the lifting of human rights and terrorism-related curbs.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Tehran was ready to “immediately conclude” a deal in talks to revive its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers if Western powers show real will.

Ambirabdollahin is due on Tuesday to report to the Iranian parliament on the progress of the talks, local media said.

On Friday, a senior U.S. State Department official said negotiators had made significant progress in the past week or so on reviving the deal but very tough issues remained.

The pact was abandoned in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, who also reimposed extensive sanctions on Iran.

The deal between Iran and world powers limited Tehran’s enrichment of uranium to make it harder for it to develop material for nuclear weapons, if it chose to, in return for a lifting of international sanctions against Tehran.

Other parties to the deal – Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia – have shuttled between the two sides during the Vienna talks.

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