Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s lead negotiator, returned to Tehran Wednesday night for consultations, leaving colleagues to continue the Vienna nuclear talks.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, meanwhile travelled to Vienna for discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But Iran’s foreign ministry announced that Bagheri Kani’s return to Tehran should not be seen as a sign of imminent agreement between Iran and world powers over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Reuters also cited an Iranian official that “if the talks collapse, Washington will be responsible for it and also for its consequences.” While accepting “good progress” had been made in the talks, the official said decisions were still needed elsewhere. “Our country’s fate is not linked to this deal,” the official said.

Iran’s official news agency IRNA also appeared to play down the significance of Bagheri Kani’s trip to Tehran, noting that senior negotiators from the three western European countries in the talks – France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – had also taken consultative trips away from Vienna this week.

The head of the French delegation in the talks, Philippe Errera, told Iran International Wednesday evening there would be “no pause” in negotiations. “We will continue until we reach an agreement or announce the collapse of negotiations next week,” Errera said.

Participants in the talks have spoken more openly in recent weeks that has been usual in the ten months of the talks, which have run, with pauses, since April. United Kingdom lead negotiator Stephanie Al-Qaq tweeted Wednesday that she had met with Bagheri Kani before he set off for Tehran.

Expectations that the talks were near concluding have been building for over a week. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s lead negotiator in Vienna, tweeted Tuesday that negotiations were “apparently… about to cross the finish line.” Both Al-Qaq and Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, said Tuesday that crucial issues remained to be agreed.

In a joint news conference with his visiting Omani counterpart earlier Wednesday, Iranians Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said a “sensitive and important point” had been reached. “We wonder whether the western side can adopt a realistic approach to go through the remaining points of the talks,” he told reporters.

Oman has several times facilitated Iran-United States contacts, both over prisoner swaps and in setting up ‘back door’ meetings before open talks led to the 2015 JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the nuclear agreement that the current Vienna process seeks to revive after the US left in 2018.

Source » trackpersia