Iran continues to refuse to negotiate directly with the United States to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal. International talks about ways to revive that deal will resume on Monday after being on hold for months, but there seems to be no prospect for the time being on a breakthrough.
Diplomats from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia and China return to the Austrian capital Vienna after five months to mediate between Iran and the US. Washington wants the Iranians to curb their nuclear program so that the development of nuclear weapons remains out of reach. Iran’s rulers want to get rid of international sanctions.
Negotiators were not very optimistic in the run-up to the talks. “We don’t think the West really wants an agreement,” Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri said. In turn, Bagheri’s American counterpart, Robert Malley, alluded to new measures if the Iranians were not sufficiently constructive.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has already ruled out his diplomats negotiating directly with the US delegation. Diplomats from the two countries are not even supposed to sit at the same table. That means that their colleagues from other countries have to transfer messages back and forth.
There was already an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in 2015, but that was short-lived. Then-U.S. President Donald Trump tossed the agreement in the trash in 2018 and again imposed severe sanctions on Iran. He felt that the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama had made a bad deal. Iran then also stopped complying with the agreements.
Now that Trump has left the White House, the international community is trying to revive the nuclear deal. In Iran, meanwhile, there was also a change of power. The relatively moderate president Hassan Rouhani had to make way for the hardliner Ebrahim Raisi last summer.