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‘Key issues’ unresolved in nuclear deal discussions but progress made, Iran spokesman says

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Though progress has been made and negotiations are not in a stalemate, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said key issues remain unresolved in the country’s discussions to return to the conditions of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference on Monday that the United States – which withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump – “has to decide once and for all whether it wants to continue the legacy of the previous administration.”

Iran began increasing its enriched uranium stockpile after the Trump administration withdrew from the deal and imposed sanctions on the country. Though Biden has signaled his interest in returning the US to the deal, he has called on Iran to go back to its original compliance first.

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It remains clear that how the US lifts its sanctions is one of the biggest “key issues” at play, with Khatibzadeh informing reporters that sanctions should be lifted and then “verified by Iran” before the country walks back on its “nuclear steps.”

Khatibzadeh insisted there was “no deadlock in the Vienna talks,” and added that Iran is “in no hurry to reach an agreement” and “will not allow the negotiations to be attritional.”

“We proceed with the negotiations in Vienna with necessary care and meticulousness. Every round could have been the last,” he said. “But because there remained some issues, they were extended to the next.”

The ministry spokesman also declared that if “the remaining key issues” are resolved, the current round of negotiations could be “the last round.”

Last Tuesday, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said he was optimistic about negotiations and that “general agreements have been reached on major disputes.”

“On the lifting of sanctions, the remaining cases are very minor, and given the negotiation process, we are optimistic about resolving the remaining minor and practical cases,” he added.

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