Iran, world powers adjourn nuclear talks

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Observer Report
Vienna

Negotiators for Iran and six world powers on Sunday adjourned talks on reviving their 2015 nuclear deal and return to their respective capitals for consultations as remaining differences still need to be overcome, officials said.

“We are now closer than ever to an agreement but the distance that exists between us and an agreement remains and bridging it is not an easy job,” Iran’s top negotiator Abbas Araqchi told state TV from Vienna. “We will return to Tehran tonight.”

After more than a week of negotiations in their latest round, parties to the pact wrapped up with Russia’s envoy saying no date for a resumption in negotiations had been set for now, although he suggested they could return in about 10 days.

Negotiations have been going on in Vienna since April to work out the nature and sequencing of steps Iran and the United States must take on nuclear activities and sanctions to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner and fierce critic of the West, won Iran’s presidential election on Friday and will take office in early August, replacing pragmatist Hassan Rouhani, under whose aegis the 2015 deal was struck.

But Raisi’s rise is unlikely to disrupt Iran’s effort under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all major policy, to restore the nuclear pact and be rid of tough US oil and financial sanctions.

“We have made progress this week, in this sixth round. We are closer to a deal but we are not still there. We are closer than we were one week ago but we are not still there,” Enrique Mora, the European Union political director who has coordinated the discussions, told reporters in Vienna.

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