EU, Russia, Iran, and Iran upbeat as nuclear talks resume amid scepticism, and concerns are ridiculed as the talks resume
VIENNA, Nov 29 (Reuters) - EU, Iranian, and Russian diplomats sounded upbeat as Iran and world powers held their first talks in five months on Monday to try to save their 2015 nuclear deal, despite Tehran taking a tough position in public that Western powers said would not function.
Diplomats say time is running out to rebuild the pact, which then-US President Donald Trump dissolved in 2018 in an attempt that angered Iran and dismayed the other nations - Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia.
After the new round began with a meeting of the remaining parties to the agreement, European Union, Iranian, and Russian delegates to the talks gave optimistic opinions, even though the new round began with a session of the remaining parties to the deal, without the United States - whom Iran refuses to meet face-to-face.
After the meeting, Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, added, "I feel extremely pleased about what I have seen today." Iran restricted its disputed uranium enrichment program in return for relief from U.S., EU, and U.N. economic sanctions.
Mora told reporters that the new Iranian delegation had kept to its aim that all sanctions be lifted, but he also suggested that Tehran had not rejected outright the results of the previous six rounds of talks held between April and June.
"They have concluded that the work done in the first six rounds is a good basis to build our work ahead," he added. "We will, of course, incorporate the fresh political sensibilities of the new Iranian administration."
According to Twitter's senior negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, told reporters: "Yes, I am." Russia's envoy to the discussions, Mikhail Ulyanov, said on Twitter that they "started quite successfully." Iran's main negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, told reporters: "Yes, I am."
However, it wasn't apparent if Iran had agreed to resume the talks in June, as requested by Western powers, or that the optimism was justified.
When detailed sanctions and nuclear issues occur this week, a European diplomat issued a pessimistic note, saying the Iranians remained at times stiffened them, which was hardly encouraging. The subject matter would become more clearer when detailed talks on sanctions and nuclear concerns occur this week.
The meeting in Vienna ended a hiatus triggered by the election of Ebrahim Raisi, an anti-Western hardliner in June. The talks are effectively indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, with other officials shutting between them.
Western diplomats say Tehran's negotiating team has set out demands that American and European diplomats believe are unproductive.
Iran has taken an uncompromising approach by demanding the removal of all U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed since 2017, including those without ties to its nuclear program, in a contingency process.
Bagheri Kani also stated that the United States and its Western partners should provide guarantees that no new sanctions will be imposed in the future.
"All parties in the meeting heard Iran's demand that first the situation of illegal and unjust U.S. sanctions... should be resolved, then (we) discuss other concerns and decide on those issues," he told reporters.
The big powers made no immediate comment on Bagheri Kani's comments about the sequence of topics.
Tehran's conflict with the United Nations atomic watchdog, which monitors its nuclear program, has stalled in parallel.
As Iran has advanced its uranium enrichment, the International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors have been treated roughly and have been denied access to reinstall monitoring cameras at a facility it considers important to reviving the agreement.
Since Trump stepped down from the agreement, Iran has breached many of its restrictions, which aim to prolong the time it would need to produce enough fissile material. Iran claims it only uses natural resources.
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