The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

TEHERAN/DUBAI-Significant progress has been made in nuclear talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday, but a number of key issues remain to be solved.

“Each round of talks in Vienna could have been the final round. We should not rush. We have made significant progress but key issues remain,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said in his weekly News conference. “There is no stalemate in the talks.”

He was commenting on the negotiations in the Austrian capital between Iran and the so-called P4+1-Britain, China, France, Russia plus Germany-aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, commonly known as the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

“We are in no hurry to reach an agreement and we will not allow the negotiations to erode,” Khatibzadeh said.

The Iranian spokesman urged US President Joe Biden not to follow “the legacy of the previous US administration”.

The administration of then-US president Donald Trump ditched the agreement in May 2018 and unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran.

In response, Iran gradually stopped implementing parts of its JCPOA commitments from May 2019. Biden has promised to return the US to the deal and ease sanctions against Iran.

The JCPOA Joint Commission began to meet offline on April 6 in Vienna to continue the discussion about a possible return of the United States to the pact and how to ensure its full and effective implementation.

In looking for a path back to the deal, Washington is tiptoeing through a minefield laid by Trump, Reuters reported. Sanctions have been imposed on more than 700 entities and people, according to a Reuters tally of US Treasury actions.

Iran is demanding that all sanctions imposed under Trump-those tied to its nuclear program, and non-nuclear penalties such as those linked to alleged terrorism, missile development and human rights-be rolled back. “This is one of the key issues that has slowed down the talks. All sanctions, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, imposed by Trump should be lifted,” an Iranian official said.


Saudi ties

Meanwhile, Khatibzadeh also said the Islamic republic is continuing talks with Saudi Arabia in a “good atmosphere”, in the hope of reaching a “common understanding”.

Media reports last month revealed that Iranian and Saudi officials met in Baghdad in April, their first high-level meeting since Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Teheran in 2016.

The talks in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, remained secret until the Financial Times reported that a first meeting was held on April 9.

Khatibzadeh confirmed the talks on May 10, saying their purpose was “both bilateral and regional”, but stressed it was “too soon” to disclose any details.

Iran in late April welcomed a “change of tone” from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman toward it after he called for a “good and special relationship” with Teheran.

Xinhua – Agencies