Iran Says ‘New Understanding’ is Taking Shape at Nuclear Talks

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(Bloomberg) — Iran’s lead negotiator in talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal said world powers had reached a “new understanding” and should soon start drafting a text outlining how they will restore the accord.

Speaking to Iranian state television, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that serious disagreements still remained but that Iran was working on a draft text that could work as a framework for subsequent talks.

“The drafting of the text can begin now and the Iranian delegation has prepared and presented its text on the nuclear sphere and the lifting of sanctions,” Araghchi said.

The comments inject new hope into a process that was plunged into crisis earlier last week after an attack on a major Iranian enrichment facility triggered the Islamic Republic into enriching uranium at levels nearing weapons grade. Iran insists that the heavy metal will be used for medical purposes only.

While the U.S. is yet to comment on the latest round of negotiations, which will resume on Sunday, the European Union and Russia, which are also taking a key role in the negotiations, echoed Araghchi’s cautious optimism.

On Friday, President Joe Biden, who wants to bring the U.S. back into the 2015 nuclear deal, criticized Iran’s move to enrich uranium to 60% but said that it wouldn’t prevent the talks and said he was “pleased” that Iran continued to engage in discussions.

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Enrique Mora, who is leading the talks in Vienna on behalf of the EU, said in a tweet that the talks were “intensive” and that “progress has been made in a far from easy task”, adding that the group needed to now focus on more detailed workm without elaborating.

He said it was “key” that all the parties are committed to seeing the U.S. rejoin the accord that former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018, and that it’s fully implemented by both Washington and Tehran, which significantly ramped up atomic activity in response to tough U.S. sanctions.

Russia’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that the countries would continue working over the weekend and into next week as they agreed to “not waste time” and reach a successful outcome “as soon as possible”.

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