Iran walks back all prior concessions in nuclear talks, US official

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Session was first with delegates from new Tehran government
Iran says aerial explosion over Natanz was air defence test
WASHINGTON
Iran walked back all compromises made in previous talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, pocketed compromises made by others and asked for more in its latest proposals, a senior US state department official told reporters on Saturday.
Iran continues to accelerate its nuclear program in pretty provocative ways and China and Russia were taken aback at how far Iran had walked back its proposals in talks in Vienna, the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Donald Trump withdrew the US from the the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.
Indirect talks between Iran and the Biden administration on saving the deal broke off on Friday, as European officials voiced dismay on at sweeping demands by Iran’s new, hardline government.
The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran’s anti-western president, Ebrahim Raisi, on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Iran came “with proposals that walked back anything – any of the compromises Iran had floated here in the six rounds of talks, pocket all of the compromises that others, and the US in particular, had made, and then asked for more”, the senior US official said.
The official told reporters he did not know when the next round of talks would resume – other officials had said they would reconvene next week – and stressed the date was less important than Iran’s willingness to negotiate seriously.
On Saturday, Iranian air defences fired a missile as part of an exercise over the central town of Natanz, which houses nuclear installations, state TV reported after local residents reported hearing a large blast.
State TV said air defence units fired the missile to test a rapid reaction force over Natanz.
“Such exercises are carried out in a completely secure environment … and there is no cause for concern,” an army spokesman, Shahin Taqikhani, said.
Iranian news agencies earlier reported a large explosion in the sky above Natanz, but said there was no official explanation of the incident. The semi-official Fars news agency quoted its reporter in nearby Badroud as saying a short blast was heard which was accompanied by an intense light in the sky.
The Islamic Republic says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
Israel opposed the original 2015 Iran nuclear accord with world powers, which aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting sanctions against Tehran, as too limited in scope and duration.
Israeli leaders have long threatened military action against Iran if they deem diplomacy a dead end for denying it nuclear weaponry.