Talks between Iran and world powers surrounding a possible return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) resumed in Vienna on Monday.

Hopes for a breakthrough in the talks are slim, with European envoy Enrique Mora saying that achieving a positive outcome is “going to be very difficult, it’s going to be very hard,” according to Reuters.

“Difficult political decisions have to be taken both in Tehran and in Washington,” said Mora, who is coordinating the talks.

He added that the window of time for such decisions to be made was closing quickly, according to the report.

“There is a sense of urgency in all delegations that this negotiation has to be finished in a relatively reasonable period of time. Again, I wouldn’t put limits but we are talking about weeks, not about months,” he said.

This is the eighth round of talks between Iran and world powers. The seventh, which resumed last month, broke off shortly afterward, amid reports that Western nations were “increasingly frustrated” by Tehran’s “unrealistic” demands.

Among those demands is that the United States and European Union lift all sanctions imposed since 2017, including those not related to Iran’s nuclear program, Reuters reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian made clear on Monday that Tehran had not retreated from those demands, reiterating that Iran’s main focus in the talks would be the lifting of all U.S. sanctions.

“The most important issue for us is to reach a point where, firstly, Iranian oil can be sold easily and without hindrance,” said Amirabdollahian, according to The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, speaking at his weekly press conference on Monday, accused Western nations of holding up a return to the JCPOA by focusing on issues outside the framework of the 2015 agreement.

“It is intolerable for Iran that they waste the teams’ time and energy with useless news while having demands beyond the JCPOA from Iran and offering benefits less than what was agreed in the deal to Iran,” said Khatibzadeh, according to IRNA.

Mora said he decided to restart talks during the holiday week in order not to lose time, Reuters reported, particularly as the seventh round had ended on a pessimistic note with negotiators from France, Britain and Germany saying, “This only takes us back nearer to where the talks stood in June.”

“We are rapidly reaching the end of the road for this negotiation,” they added.

JNS

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