Iran nuclear deal talks to resume in Vienna on December 27

The 8th round of talks on Iran's nuclear program will begin in Vienna on December 27, amid growing concern that Iran is nearing a point where the JCPOA will no longer be relevant.

‘THERE IS less access, let’s face it.’ Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi ahead of a virtual IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna last year. (photo credit: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/REUTERS)
‘THERE IS less access, let’s face it.’ Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Mariano Grossi ahead of a virtual IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna last year.
(photo credit: CHRISTIAN BRUNA/REUTERS)

Indirect talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are set to resume in Vienna on Monday.

“Welcome to the 8th round,” the European Union’s coordinator of the talks, Enrique Mora, tweeted on Thursday. “The #ViennaTalks to resume on Monday 27 December.”

“The #JCPOA Joint Commission will meet to discuss and define the way ahead,” Mora said. “Important to pick up the pace on key outstanding issues and move forward, working closely with the US.”

The EU elaborated on the renewed talks in a statement of its External Action Services.

“Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides,” it said.

 Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and delegations wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria December 17, 2021 (credit: REUTERS) Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and delegations wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria December 17, 2021 (credit: REUTERS)

The EU is brokering indirect talks between the United States and Iran, in an attempt to resurrect the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that is designed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Russia’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted, “Usually it isn’t popular to engage in serious business [between] the Catholic Christmas and the New Year. In this particular case this is an indication that all negotiators don’t want to waste time and aim at speediest restoration of #JCPOA.”

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited Israel earlier this week to discuss Iran and the possibility of the deal’s revival, which Israel opposes.

“What happens in Vienna has profound ramifications for the stability of the Middle East and the security of Israel for the upcoming years,” Bennett told Sullivan when the two met on Wednesday. Sullivan also met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. 

The JCPOA was signed between Tehran and the six world powers: the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Great Britain. Those countries are also party to the Vienna talks.

Former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018. Since taking office in January, US President Joe Biden has sought to restore the agreement, but seven rounds of talks, the last of which ended last week, have yet to produce results.

In the interim, Iran has inched closer to the production of weapons-grade uranium. The US has warned that if the deal is not revived soon, it will become unviable.