Dec 12, 2021 - World

Iran negotiator "optimistic" despite sanctions impasse

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

Iran's lead negotiator in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna criticized the position of the European negotiators Sunday, telling Iranian state-run media that they had failed to propose compromises on the issue of sanctions.

Catch up quick: Negotiations resumed after a months-long standstill following the election of Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi.

  • If the new round of talks fails, the United States and the E3 — France, Germany and the U.K. — are expected to take steps to increase pressure on Iran.
  • Earlier this month, the U.S. and E3 nations said that Iran had backtracked on certain commitments to roll back its nuclear program and was not negotiating seriously.

What they're saying: "European parties fail to come up with any initiatives to resolve differences over the removal of sanctions" on Iran," Ali Bagheri Kani said Sunday, according to Iranian state-run media, per Reuters.

  • Nevertheless, Bagheri Kani told local media Sunday that he remains "optimistic" about reaching an agreement, Iran's Press TV reported.

The big picture: Kani's comments follow remarks by British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss earlier Sunday, emphasizing that Iran is facing its "last chance" on reaching a nuclear deal, Reuters reported.

  • "This is the last chance for Iran to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution to this issue, which has to be agreeing to the terms of the JCPOA," Truss said.
  • Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, likewise told reporters Sunday that "time is running out" to reach an agreement, and that Iran's position had set the negotiations back by six months.

Go deeper: Western negotiators tell Iran new nuclear proposals are "not serious"

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