Iran’s deputy foreign minister said at the weekend that ongoing negotiations in Vienna to restore the 2015 nuclear deal will not resume until president-elect Ebrahim Raisi is sworn in next month.
“We’re in a transition period as a democratic transfer of power is underway in our capital”, Abbas Araghchi tweeted. “Vienna talks must thus obviously await our new administration”.
Raisi, elected in questionably democratic circumstances in June, is considered a hardliner, particularly in comparison with incumbent Hassan Rouhani.
Araghchi, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, also said the Vienna talks would not be linked to any prisoner exchange with the US or UK.
“The US & UK need to understand this and stop linking a humanitarian exchange – ready to be implemented – with the JCPOA”, he tweeted.
Araghchi’s comments confirmed reports last week claiming that Tehran had notified European mediators that it would not resume indirect negotiations until after Raisi had taken office.
“They are not prepared to come back before the new government”, a diplomatic source told Reuters.
“We are now talking probably not before mid-August”, the source said.
Iran and the US have been holding indirect talks in Vienna since April over their joint return to the JCPOA, which granted Tehran sanctions relief for curbs on its nuclear program.