Iran nuclear talks resume in Vienna amid new complications

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FILE - In this April 20, 2021 file photo Russia's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Mikhail Ulyanov smokes a cigarette in front of the 'Grand Hotel Wien' where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, file)

BERLIN – World powers resumed high-level talks in Vienna on Tuesday focused on bringing the United States back into the nuclear deal with Iran, in their first session since comments surfaced from the Iranian foreign minister alleging that Russia once tried to scupper the pact.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has not responded to requests for comment on the remarks from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, made in a seven-hour interview with a think tank associated with the Iranian presidency that leaked over the weekend.

Ahead of the main talks, Russia's top representative Mikhail Ulyanov said he'd met on the side together with officials from Iran and China, but did not mention anything about Zarif's comments.

“We compared notes and exchanged views on the way ahead towards full restoration of the nuclear deal,” he tweeted. “It was a very fruitful meeting.”

Following the main meeting with his counterparts from China, Germany, France, and Britain — the other parties to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — Ulyanov tweeted that they were “guided by the unity of purpose.”

“Which is full restoration of the nuclear deal in its original form,” he wrote. “It was decided to expedite the process.”

China’s delegate Wang Qun told reporters on his way out of the talks that discussions would continue on Wednesday.

Asked in Berlin about Zarif's remarks, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the talks in Vienna are “anything but easy" but have been constructive so far.