A new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers is set to kick off in Vienna on Thursday after a weeks-long stalemate and despite low expectations recently expressed by American officials.
Washington’s Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley tweeted on Wednesday that he was “preparing to travel to Vienna for talks on basis of @JosepBorrellF's text.
“Our expectations are in check, but the United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal. It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same,” he said.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani confirmed the attendance of an Iranian delegation in the talks during a statement.
"As part of the policy of lifting cruel sanctions against our country, Iran's negotiating team led by Ali Bagheri, the Islamic republic's chief negotiator, will leave for Vienna in a few hours,” he said.
The European Union is leading what seems to be a final attempt to renew the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Enrique Mora, the senior E.U. official coordinating the talks, announced their official resumption.
“On my way to Vienna to discuss #JCPOA back to full implementation on the basis of the coordinator's text tabled on 20 July. #ViennaTalks. Extremely grateful to Austrian authorities,” he tweeted.
Last week, the E.U.’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell put a final offer on the table, which it deemed as the “best possible feasible deal” and called on Iran to decide.
In an op-ed in The Financial times, Borrell did not specify the details of the draft, however, he admitted “it is not a perfect agreement, but it addresses all essential elements and includes hard-won compromises by all sides.”
In response, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said that Tehran would like to share its own ideas about how to conclude the nuclear talks.
“After exchanging messages last week and reviewing the proposed texts, there is a possibility that, in the near future, we will be able to reach a conclusion about the timing of a new round of nuclear negotiations,” added Kanaani.
Earlier this week, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said that his country has the technical capability to produce a nuclear bomb, but has no intention of doing so.
The top official was echoing similar remarks made recently by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said in July that Iran has already been easily “able to enrich uranium up to 60%” and can “easily produce 90%” – which is the level needed for a nuclear bomb – far beyond that threshold set in the original nuclear deal which stood on 3.67%.
On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid responded to Iran’s threat by alluding to Israel’s alleged nuclear program, saying that “other capabilities” are keeping Israel alive and will continue doing so.
This new round of nuclear talks will be the first since Lapid took over as Israel's prime minister.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.