Iran's risky 'counter-pressure' campaign appears to be working. A mere day after the Islamic Republic announced obtaining 60% enriched uranium, there's talk of rapid "progress" made Saturday, according to the latest out of Vienna:
Talks on Iran's contentious nuclear program have reportedly made progress, despite Tehran's announcement that it was increasing uranium-enrichment levels closer to weapons-grade levels.
..."Progress has been made in a far-from-easy task. We need now more detailed work," European Union envoy Enrique Mora said after the April 17 talks.
Chinese envoy Wang Qun said that "all parties have agreed to further pick up their pace in subsequent days by engaging in more extensive, substantive work on sanctions-lifting, as well as other relevant issues."
The Iranian side has further indicated the crucial phase of drafting the text for reviving the JCPOA nuclear deal can now start.
"The drafting of the text can begin now, and the Iranian delegation has prepared and presented its text on the nuclear sphere and the lifting of sanctions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Iranian state TV.
However, there's yet to be confirmation from the US side seconding this optimistic assessment. The US team is engaging with the Iranians 'indirectly' via shuttle diplomacy by European diplomats.
And here's what the latest out of Bloomberg's reporting indicates Saturday:
World powers made further progress in their efforts to end a years-long standoff between Iran and the U.S. over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, as the Islamic Republic said a "new understanding" was taking shape at key talks in Vienna.
It remains to be seen if this positive momentum will continue, given another Israeli sabotage attack is likely right around the corner for the purpose of derailing the talks. Based on an intelligence "leak" to The New York Times, Israeli intelligence essentially owned up to being behind last Sunday's sabotage attack and blackout at Natanz nuclear facility.
#Iran DepFM: There were good discussions in the Joint Commission session. It seems a new understanding is being formed & there's an agreement on a final target between all. The path is now more clear. But the path will not be an easy path. There are some serious differences. pic.twitter.com/H5L1PDYSm9— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) April 17, 2021
This in turn triggered Iran to announce uranium enrichment to 60% purity, while also vowing it could reach 90% if it chose to (while saying it hadn't gone that far). 90% would give it capability to produce a nuclear weapon, something which Israel has vowed to prevent by any means possible.