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US-Iran nuclear talks are in ‘final sprint’, says Chinese foreign minister, blasting Washington’s ‘bullying’ for chaotic situation

Speaking on Friday in an address to the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the world’s great powers to redouble their diplomatic efforts to “bring the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] back on track.” 

Wang said that negotiations concerning the 2015 nuclear agreement, which put limits on Iranian atomic ambitions, were close to bearing fruit. Echoing the statements of other speakers, he claimed the talks were in a “final sprint” to the finish line.

The negotiations in Vienna have been ongoing for months, as parties look to bring the US and Iran back in line with the pact, which was unilaterally abandoned in 2018 by former US president Donald Trump, who enacted harsh sanctions on Tehran.

It was originally signed in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US – plus Germany. Iran has further hollowed out the deal, however, increasing its enrichment program by far in excess of the agreed 3.67% level, but less than the 90% level considered weapons-grade. In April, Tehran stated it would enhance its uranium enrichment to 60%, following an alleged Israeli attack on its Natanz nuclear facility.

In early June, Ali Rabiei, the Iranian government’s spokesman, said a deal was likely before the end of the current administration. A new government is set to be sworn in on August 5, after national elections. 

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