Iran Nuclear Talks Resume, Germany Calls for Rapid Progress

US sanctions are main sticking point as sixth round gets underway

The JCPOA talks in Vienna resumed Saturday, the sixth round getting under way. Less than a week off from the Iranian presidential election, the push is to try to make a deal with the Rouhani government while it is still in power.

Germany in particular emphasized the need for rapid progress, saying all sides need flexibility and that there is no reason at this point to be playing for time. China’s Ambassador Wang Qun was the most forthcoming on details of where they’re at in talks, saying the major issues are mostly already worked out, and that the real sticking point is the US finally delivering on sanctions relief.

That’s an embarrassing place for the US to be in the talks, as the deal went into effect in 2015 and the US has never made serious efforts to comply with their primary responsibility in the deal. US sanctions and US moves to prevent the other P5+1 from doing business with Iran are the primary reason the nuclear deal is in such trouble in the first place.

EU envoys involved in the talks have expressed optimism that a deal could be made soon, while the US is more pessimistic. Iranian state media has similarly doubted that a deal will be made before the election.

That could be a problem, as the election will likely put a more conservative president in power. This is going to bring mistrust of the US to the fore in Iranian politics again, and the US will likely be vilifying whomever is elected. Either way, Iran and the US will likely be too busy redefining their international narratives to progress the deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of