Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, continued talks in Vienna Friday aimed at reviving the agreement. Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, said the parties were still discussing draft proposals put forward by Tehran last week and rejected accusations from the West that Iran is not taking the negotiations seriously.
In earlier indirect negotiations with the previous Iranian government, the US and Iran reached a draft agreement that would lift most major sanctions on Iran, but the two sides remained far apart on key issues.
The US wants the new Iranian government to accept the previous deal, but Tehran has submitted two new draft proposals, one on sanctions relief, and one on Iran’s nuclear commitments. “The drafts we proposed last week are being discussed now in meetings with other parties,” Bagheri Kani told Reuters.
Even though Iran is willing to negotiate on its new proposals, the US has framed its refusal to accept the earlier agreement as a hardline stance and as proof that the Iranians are not taking the negotiations seriously. “Iran’s seriousness is obvious. See who has canceled other meetings and is in Vienna and who is not,” Bagheri Kani said, referring to the fact that the US special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, is not arriving in Vienna until this weekend.
Amid negotiations, the US has imposed new sanctions on Iran, plans on tightening existing ones, and is openly discussing military action with Israel. On Thursday, the White House said that President Biden had ordered his administration to prepare “other options” in case the talks fail to revive the JCPOA. Iranian officials have said the US behavior is a sign that Washington is the party not taking the talks seriously.