Talks to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal formally resumed on Thursday, with a meeting of the remaining parties to the deal, which does not include the United States, Russia's top envoy to the talks said on Twitter. The meeting ended within an hour.
"The meeting of the Joint Commission is over. It was rather short and constructive," Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted. "The participants observed a number of important commonalities in their positions, including with regard to the need to finalize the #ViennaTalks on restoration of #JCPOA successfully and swiftly."
The meeting of the Joint Commission is over. It was rather short and constructive. The participants observed a number of important commonalities in there positions, including with regard to the need to finalise the #ViennaTalks on restoration of #JCPOA successfully and swiftly. pic.twitter.com/roGjSMPp1i— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) December 9, 2021
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the parties decided during the meeting to continue discussions on the documents proposed by Iran at various levels. The report stated that Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani explained the basics of Iran's proposals and emphasized Iran's "seriousness and goodwill in the talks."
"Iran will continue to engage seriously & is determined to reach a good deal that secures our nation's rights & interests," wrote Kani in a tweet earlier on Thursday.
Started my working day by hosting a useful & constructive meeting with top negotiators of Russia & China. Also met with EU's Mora ahead of Joint Commission.Iran will continue to engage seriously & is determined to reach a good deal that secures our nation's rights & interests. https://t.co/ymT2FtUyLo— علی باقریکنی (@Bagheri_Kani) December 9, 2021
The talks had broken off last Friday, with European officials saying that Iran's demands were unrealistic and expressing concerns that Iran was stalling while advancing its nuclear program.
On Monday, Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, stressed that Iran was only negotiating the lifting of sanctions and was not considering a temporary or interim agreement. He added that Iran is "not in a hurry" and would not allow anyone to "play" with their time and energy in Vienna.
Khatibzadeh claimed that while the Iranian delegation was willing to be flexible, the other side was unwilling. He added that the Iranian delegation was waiting to receive the opinion of the world powers concerning two documents the delegation submitted on their positions concerning sanctions and nuclear issues.
“Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the virtual Reuters Next Conference on Friday. "If the path to a return to compliance with the agreement turns out to be a dead-end, we will pursue other options."
Defense Minister Benny Gantz landed in the US on Thursday afternoon ahead of planned meetings with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken concerning Iran's nuclear program.
Before taking off on Wednesday, Gantz stated that the meetings in the US would "discuss ways to preserve Israel's security supremacy in the region and security challenges, especially dealing with Iranian aggression."
"Iran is a threat to world peace, to the region and seeks to become an existential threat to Israel. In the discussions, we will highlight the possible courses of action to ensure that its attempt to reach a nuclear scene is halted, thus expanding its activities in the region," added Gantz.
US and Israeli defense chiefs are expected on Thursday to discuss possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations' leaders request it, a senior US official told Reuters.
The scheduled US talks with visiting Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz follow an Oct. 25 briefing by Pentagon leaders to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on the full set of military options available to ensure that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon, the official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants to master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
On Wednesday, KAN News reported that Israel was planning to conduct an exercise next year in which dozens of aircraft would drill an attack on Iran by flying over 1,000 kilometers over the Mediterranean Sea.