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Weekly Roundup: Iran Nuclear Talks Restart in Vienna

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Mideast Iran Nuclear

Talks resumed today in Vienna between Iran and world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and restoring curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. They have been suspended since June. Representatives from Iran, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China met at the Palais Coburg, where the deal was originally signed, while US officials negotiated via intermediaries from another location. Iran called on the US to unfreeze $10 billion in assets as an initial goodwill gesture, with an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman reportedly saying Monday that the US could “receive a ticket for returning to the room” at the Coburg if it agrees to “the real lifting of sanctions.” But the mood is darkening in Western capitals given Iran’s rapid nuclear advancements, increasingly limited International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) oversight, and the uncompromising language of the new Iranian negotiating team. After visiting Tehran on Tuesday, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi reported that talks with Iran about monitoring its nuclear program — and inspector access — were inconclusive. “We are still talking, but not in terms of dotting an 'i' or crossing a 't.' ... We are close to the point where I would not be able to guarantee continuity of knowledge," Grossi told a quarterly IAEA board meeting.

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