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Much more work ahead in Iran nuclear talks despite progress, EU says

Filed on April 21, 2021
Russia's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mikhail Ulyanov at a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna.Photo: Reuters

Iran and world powers have been meeting since early April to hammer out steps.

Iran and world powers have made headway in talks to save the 2015 nuclear accord, although much more work is needed, a senior European Union official said on Tuesday, with meetings to resume next week after consultations in their respective capitals.

"Progress made over the last two weeks," European External Action Service Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora said on Twitter. "But much more hard work needed. Third expert group was created to address sequencing issues."

The talks, aimed at bringing Iran and the US back into compliance with the nuclear deal will pick up again next week based on progress achieved so far, Russian and Chinese officials said earlier on Tuesday.

Iran and world powers have been meeting in Vienna since early April to hammer out steps that must be taken, touching on U.S. sanctions and Tehran's breaches of the deal's limits on its uranium enrichment capacity.

"Today the Joint Commission of #JCPOA took note with satisfaction of the progress made in negotiations to restore the nuclear deal," said Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's ambassador to the U.N. nuclear watchdog (IAEA), referring to the nuclear deal.

"In view of the progress made ... so far the Joint Commission of #JCPOA decided to establish the third working group to deal with possible sequencing of practical steps leading to full restoration of the Iranian nuclear deal."

U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, which took office in January seeking to rejoin the accord, has said it is ready to remove "all sanctions that are inconsistent" with the deal, although not spelling out which measures it means.

In Washington, the State Department described the talks in positive terms but said there was a long way to go.

“We probably have more road ahead of us than we do behind us at this stage,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at a regular briefing.

Iranian officials had on Monday cited the possibility of an interim deal to buy time for a lasting settlement.

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