Vienna: Negotiations between Iran and world powers aimed at salvaging a tattered 2015 nuclear deal have resumed in Vienna after a few days’ pause, with tensions high after Tehran made demands last week that European countries strongly criticised.

European Union diplomat Enrique Mora, who chaired Thursday’s meeting of all the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – said afterwards that he felt “a renewed sense of purpose on the need to work and to reach an agreement on bringing the (agreement) back to life”. “Whether that will be confirmed and endorsed by negotiations on the details, we will see in the coming days,” Mora said, adding that the positive impression “has to be tested”.

He said that it is becoming “more imperative” with time to reach an agreement quickly. Iran’s top negotiator in nuclear talks said he had insisted Tehran was serious in the negotiations, underlining that Iran was continuing talks based on its previous positions.

“Iran is serious about reaching an agreement if the ground is paved …. The fact that all sides want the talks to continue shows that all parties want to narrow the gaps,” Ali Bagheri Kani told reporters after talks resumed in Vienna.

The United States has participated indirectly in the talks because it withdrew from the accord in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden has signalled that he wants to rejoin the deal. Washington plans to send a delegation led by Robert Malley, the special US envoy for Iran, to Vienna over the weekend. Diplomats from the UK, France and Germany had urged Tehran to come back with “realistic proposals” after the Iranian delegation made numerous demands last week that other parties to the accord deemed unacceptable. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week that the US hopes the next round of talks “proceeds differently”.

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