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Iran Nuclear Talks Resume; German Foreign Minister Urges 'Flexibility, Pragmatism'


German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (file photo)

Negotiators from Iran and five world powers have resumed talks to try and revive the landmark deal that curtailed Tehran's nuclear programs but was later put in doubt when U.S. President Donald Trump's administration abandoned it.

The June 12 talks in Vienna, brokered by European diplomats, include indirect contacts between U.S. and Iranian negotiators.

So far, there have been five rounds, with negotiators saying early this month that the talks are heading into their most delicate phase.

Earlier, Russia's representative to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said in a post to Twitter that the talks would allow the participants to “exchange views on how to arrange further work in order to complete the negotiations successfully and expeditiously.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged parties to be flexible.

"It is about flexibility and pragmatism from all participating parties," he told Reuters. "Playing for time is in no one's interest."

The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, has been in danger of complete collapse since 2018, when Trump pulled Washington out of the pact and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.

In response, Tehran steadily has exceeded limits on its nuclear program spelled out in the deal.

The United States is not formally part of these talks. But the administration of Trump's successor, Joe Biden, has signaled its willingness to rejoin the deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sounded pessimistic recently when he told lawmakers that it remains “unclear whether Iran is willing and prepared to do what it needs to do come back into compliance."

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price raised a separate issue this week, saying that Iran has yet to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with information the agency needs regarding potential undeclared nuclear material.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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