The Jerusalem Post

‘Iran not ready for nuclear talks until Raisi takes over’


WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Iran is not prepared to resume negotiatio­ns on coming back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal until Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi’s administra­tion has begun, a diplomatic source said on Wednesday.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Iran had conveyed this to European officials acting as interlocut­ors in the indirect US-Iranian negotiatio­ns and that the current thinking is the Vienna talks will not resume before mid-August.

“They are not prepared to come back before the new government,” said the source, saying it was not clear whether this meant until Raisi formally takes over on August 5 or until his government is in place.

“We are now talking probably not before mid-August,” added the source.

Talks began in April on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, formally named the Joint Comprehens­ive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but have appeared stuck since their sixth round ended on June 20, with no sign when they may resume.

The agreement, which Democratic former president Barack Obama negotiated and Republican former president Donald Trump abandoned, struck a balance between Iran accepting limits to its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

A US State Department spokespers­on confirmed that Iran had asked for more time because of its presidenti­al transition.

“We were prepared to continue negotiatin­g but the Iranians requested more time to deal with their presidenti­al transition,” said the State Department spokespers­on.

“When Iran is done with its process, we are prepared to plan our return to Vienna to continue with our talks,” she added. “We remain interested in seeking mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, though as (Secretary of State Antony Blinken) has made clear, this offer will not be on the table indefinite­ly.”

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