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West Warns Iran amid ‘Modest Progress’ at Vienna Talks

West Warns Iran amid ‘Modest Progress’ at Vienna Talks

Friday, 21 January, 2022 - 06:00
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hosts her American counterpart Anthony Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly in Berlin (AP)

Foreign ministers of the Western quartet partaking in talks on Iran’s nuclear program sent another warning to Tehran. They stressed the need to expedite the negotiation process, return to joint compliance with the terms of the deal, and halt the expansion of Iran’s nuclear activities.

This comes when Iran nuclear deal talks in Vienna have reached a “decisive” point, although their progress has been non-essential so far.

The Iranian nuclear file was one of the main topics discussed at the quartet’s meeting, held in Berlin, and included top diplomats from the United States, Germany, Britain, and France.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Thursday during the meeting in Berlin that urgent steps will need to be taken to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“There is real urgency and it’s really now a matter of weeks, where we determine whether or not we can return to mutual compliance with the agreement,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with Baerbock.

The top US diplomat said there had been “modest progress” in recent talks in Vienna. He also claimed that returning to “mutual compliance” with the deal is still possible.

Blinken’s comments echo those of US President Joe Biden, who said Wednesday that it is not time to give up efforts to bring the 2015 agreement back to life.

Baerbock also said time was of the essence.

“The window for finding a solution is closing,” she said. “The negotiations are in a decisive phase. We need urgent, urgent progress. Otherwise, we will not be successful in reaching a joint accord.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who was also in Berlin, said a change of approach was needed to salvage the deal.

He said progress in the negotiations so far had been “partial, timid and slow” and said it was necessary to “pick up the pace.”

The remarks come as Iran moves forward with uranium enrichment, sparking concern in the West. The UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU are currently in the eighth round of talks in Vienna over the deal, with negotiations having resumed nearly two months ago.

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