Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi leaves the Grand Hotel Wien after closed-door nuclear talks, Vienna, Austria, June 2, 2021 (AFP)

Delegations say that “important issues” remain in Iran nuclear talks after the adjournment of the fifth set of discussions in Vienna.

The coordinator of the negotiations, the European Union’s Enrique Mora, said on Wednesday that a deal may be possible at the next round of discussions, which resume about June 10. Those talks are likely to be the last before Iran’s Presidential election on June 18.

Mora told reporters:

I had wished that this was the final round. That was not the case, but we will continue working and I’m sure that the next round will be the one in which we will finally get a deal and we will bring back the United States to the JCPOA [the nuclear deal] and Iran to full implementation of its commitments.

This is a complex process with political decisions with rather technical issues. Now we are reaching a point in which we have to face the heart of these issues.”

The talks began in April, linking US re-entry in the 2015 deal, removal of American sanctions, and an Iranian return to compliance with terms such as limits on uranium enrichment.

Diplomats from the European participants in the deal — the UK, France, and Germany — said, “We have made further progress and important aspects of a future agreement have been worked out. However, the most difficult decisions still lie ahead of us.”

They added, “We are all aware that no-one has time on their side.”

Iran Puts Onus on US and Europe

Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, said, “All in all, we made good progress, but there are issues left [unresolved], without which an agreement couldn’t be reached, and which have yet to be decided.”

He put pressure on the other powers in the deal (UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia) and the US:

It is not us but…the signatories to the JCPOA and the United States that must…take their own difficult decisions and adapt themselves to the positions of the Islamic Republic.

If this happens, we can naturally reach an agreement. Otherwise, we will either have no agreement or hold more consultations.

President Hassan Rouhani was more upbeat in Tehran:

Our main issues with the United States in these negotiations have been resolved, and there are only a few minor issues left, on which we will negotiate and produce results. If there is the will that this be done in the current administration, then this administration has finished the work.”

The head of China’s delegation Wang Qun pointed to progress but said that the primary topic of sanctions removal has not been settled.

Araqchi was cautious yesterday “Nothing can be predicted in diplomatic negotiations by 100R. Rationally, the next round of talks could be the final one.”