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Germany, US warn Iran on nuclear talks: Time is running out

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday accused Iran of undermining negotiations in Vienna aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear bombs.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Thursday accused Iran of undermining negotiations in Vienna aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear bombs.

Time is running out not least “because Iran is unfortunately continuing to turn the spiral of nuclear escalation in parallel with the talks,” Baerbock said after a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin.

Iran, she said, had achieved 60-per-cent uranium enrichment, unprecedented for a state without nuclear weapons.

“There is no plausible explanation for this and Iran is not providing a plausible explanation for this,” Baerbock said.

Germany’s top diplomat said the goal remains to preserve the nuclear agreement and stop uranium enrichment. “The negotiations in Vienna are not entering a decisive phase, but the decisive phase,” she added.

Diplomats from China, France, Britain, Russia and Germany are trying to save the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Vienna talks.

In order to do so, the United States would have to return to the deal following its unilateral exit in 2018 and lift sanctions against Iran.

In return, Tehran would then have to honour its obligations under the agreement.

For his part, Blinken said “some modest progress” had been made over the past few weeks. “But we are not where we need to be.”

He also warned that time was running out, adding that a different course of action would be taken if there is no progress soon.

He said the issue came up during a meeting with the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France.

“We discussed together the steps that that we would take together if Iran refuses to return to compliance with the agreement on terms that that are acceptable to to all of us,” Blinken said.

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