Cautious Optimism in Vienna Amid Nuclear Talks
Iran and world powers are inching toward an understanding regarding a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to Iranian officials. On Monday, a spokesman for Tehran’s Foreign Ministry said the parties, conducting indirect talks in Vienna for the past two weeks, “are on the right track, and some progress has been made. … We have moved from general words to agreeing on specific steps” toward striking an interim deal on the path to resolving the dispute over compliance with the abandoned pact. The US State Department on Monday cautioned that “there have been no breakthroughs” as of yet in the negotiations, and said that the delegations would soon return home for consultations. After former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, Iran gradually began breaching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’s restrictions on its nuclear activity, culminating in last week’s announcement that it had started enriching uranium up to 60% purity. Israel’s government has vowed not to allow Tehran, which has stated its intention to wipe the Jewish state off the map, to acquire nuclear capabilities, and has reportedly launched clandestine operations to sabotage Iranian facilities, leading to a shadow war that has included naval strikes against Israeli-owned ships in the Gulf.