Western negotiators tell Iran new nuclear proposals are "not serious"

  • In World
  • 2021-12-03 10:34:45Z
  • By Axios

The nuclear negotiators for the E3 - France, Germany and the U.K. - told Iranian negotiators in coordination with the U.S. that the opening proposals they presented in Vienna nuclear talks this week were unserious and unacceptable, an E3 diplomat briefed on the talks said.

Why it matters: The readout of the first round of talks show gaps between Iran and its Western counterparts that at the moment seem very wide and hard to bridge.

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Driving the news: Iranian negotiators, led this week by deputy foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani, presented two new drafts in Vienna for an agreement on sanctions relief and measures Iran needs to take in order to roll back its nuclear program in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • The E3 diplomat said the draft on sanctions relief was extreme and maximalist, with the Iranians increasing their sanctions relief demands in comparison to the draft agreement achieved with the previous Rouhani government last June.

  • The second draft on Iranian nuclear measures was also very hardline. The E3 diplomat said the Iranians removed all of the previously agreed compromise language on steps they will take to roll back their nuclear program. In practice, the Iranians agree to fewer limitations on their nuclear program.

What they're saying: "We told the Iranians we were at an impasse so we needed to break and take stock," a Western diplomat with direct knowledge of the talks said.

  • Noor News, a website close to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, reported on Thursday night: "In contrast to the two proposals Iran put on the table of negotiations, the West did not take any initiative, causing the process of negotiations to slow down."

  • Iran Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdolahian and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell spoke on the phone on Friday. Iranian media reported Abdolahian told Borrell "the West needs to offer a real initiative to end the sanctions on Iran."

What's next: Talks in Vienna will break on Friday afternoon after a meeting of the nuclear deal joint commission, which includes Iran, the EU, France, Germany, the U.K., Russia and China.

  • The E3 diplomat said delegates will return to their capitals for consultations and are likely to reconvene next week in Vienna for another round of talks, with hopes that the Iranians will return with a more flexible position.


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