Iran Says Progress at Nuclear Deal Talks Not Enough to Change Course

VIENNA, June 28 (Reuters) – Progress was made at talks on Friday aimed at saving the Iran nuclear deal but probably not enough to convince the Islamic Republic to change its decision to go over the deal’s core atomic restrictions one by one, Iran‘s envoy to the talks said.

Iran‘s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was speaking after almost four hours of talks with senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

“It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations,” Araqchi told reporters.

“I don’t think the progress made today will be enough to stop our process but the decision will made in Tehran.”

He said the Europeans had told the meeting that the Instex trade mechanism had been made operational, with the first transactions already processed, but that this was still insufficient because European countries were not buying Iranian oil, the key demand for it to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal.

“For Instex to be useful for Iran, Europeans need to buy oil or consider credit lines for this mechanism otherwise Instex is not like they or us expect,” he said.

Instex had now been widened to include more European countries beyond France, Britain and Germany, known as the E3, Araqchi said.

A European diplomat confirmed that the mechanism was now operational but the E3 have yet to make an official announcement.

In a joint statement earlier on Friday, Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, said they were working with the E3 to develop trade mechanisms.

Araqchi said all the parties in Vienna had agreed to hold a ministerial meeting “very soon”.

(Reporting by John Irish and Francois Murphy Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)