Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

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Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran’s new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi’s government to return to the negotiating table.

  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri made the announcement after meeting with EU political director Enrique Mora, who is coordinating the Vienna talks with Iran.
  • Bagheri, an ultra-hardliner, is expected to lead Iran’s negotiating team.

Meanwhile, President Biden will meet the leaders of the “E3” (France, Germany and the U.K.) on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome this weekend to discuss next steps on Iran.

  • The Biden administration and its European allies agree that Iran has been dragging its feet on returning to the nuclear talks, but they haven’t reached any agreement on how to press Iran to negotiate.
  • U.S. Iran envoy Rob Malley met last week in Paris with senior diplomats from the E3 to discuss possible next steps.

What they’re saying: National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday that Biden would coordinate closely with his European counterparts in order to have a united front.

“We will be sending clear messages to the Iranians that this window is not unlimited, that we need to see a return to diplomacy and that we retain all other options to be able to deal with this program as necessary.”

— Jake Sullivan

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