BERLIN

The ongoing talks on Iran’s nuclear accord in Vienna have reached a “decisive phase,” the German foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a joint press briefing with his Yemeni counterpart Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Heiko Maas said: “The talks in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear accord are arduous but nevertheless, they are making step-by-step progress.”

“Surely there will be now a decisive phase in which one has to await whether the newly elected Iranian president will continue to support what we have negotiated as there are things about which we have already agreed on. That is our expectation,” Mass added.

This month’s Iranian presidential victory of Ebrahim Raeisi, who opposes negotiations with the US, has added to a sense of uncertainty looming over the negotiations.

Raeisi, who replaces President Hassan Rouhani, will take up office in August.

Meanwhile, Maas pointed out that the US had also expressed its willingness to do its share when it comes to lifting sanctions against Iran.

Six rounds of negotiations between Iran and five world powers (the US, UK, Russia, China, and France) plus Germany in Vienna have yet to seal an agreement amid hardening rhetoric between Tehran and Washington.

Both the US and Iran have reportedly said talks could not continue indefinitely, stating both sides had to make tough decisions.

The American delegation is not participating in the meeting with the other world powers in Vienna, as Iran refuses to directly negotiate with the US until sanctions imposed during former President Donald Trump’s era are lifted.

Under the accord, Tehran pledged to limit its nuclear activity to civilian purposes and in return, Western powers would agree to drop their economic sanctions on Iran.

But in 2018, under then-President Donald Trump, the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement as part of his so-called “maximal pressure” policy and re-imposed tough sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to stop complying with the agreement.

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