Middle East

Progress seen in Iran nuclear talks – Middle East Monitor

A senior German Foreign Ministry official on Monday offered a cautiously upbeat assessment of “progress” in Vienna-based talks aimed at bringing the US back into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Anadolu Agency reported.

Addressing a government press briefing in Berlin, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said: “Naturally, I cannot give you any confidential details from the talks, but I can tell you that we have certainly made progress.”

She expressed hope that both sides could “be on a path of rapprochement” in the nuclear dispute.

“It may take several more rounds. It’s an open process. The talks are currently ongoing and we see movement over there and certainly progress and the will to move forward,” she added.

READ: Saudi columnists urge firm Western stand on Iran in Vienna talks

Adebahr stressed however there “are still very, very many open questions” that still needed to be resolved.

Over the past two weeks Iran has been negotiating in Vienna with the five powers that remain in the agreement – Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany.

A US delegation also has been in Vienna, but is not talking directly to Iran.

According to Adebahr, working groups on both sides are currently meeting in the Austrian capital to talk about nuclear as well as sanctions-related issues.

Alleged talks between Iran, Saudi Arabia

In related news, the German Foreign Ministry “welcomed” media reports about direct talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“We have of course seen the reports on talks and would of course welcome all steps that can contribute to easing the international situation,” Adebahr told reporters in Berlin.

“In principle, it would be a welcomed step. For years, we have been campaigning for de-escalation in the region and thus also for communication and de-escalation between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” she added.

READ: US Defense Secretary arrives in Israel amid Iran talks

Britain’s Financial Times reported over the weekend that Saudi and Iranian officials held direct talks earlier this month in a bid to de-escalate between the two regional arch-foes.

An April 9 meeting in the Iraqi capital Baghdad focused on attempts to mend fences between Tehran and Riyadh, said the daily.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2016 in the aftermath of the storming of its embassy in Tehran in a row over Riyadh’s execution of a leading Shia Muslim cleric.

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