No breakthrough is expected in the new round of nuclear talks with Iran starting in Vienna on Monday afternoon after a five-month hiatus. Iran’s delegation of 30 will confront five of the six powers that signed the 2015 deal – Russia, China, UK, France and Germany – with demands to lift the sanctions crippling its economy. The Iranians also demand compensation for the tough penalties imposed by the US, as well as a guarantee that the US, whose delegates await in a separate room, will never again quit the new deal as President Donald Trump did three years ago.
Israel wants the powers to insist a priori on a halt in Iran’s uranium enrichment projects which have reached 60pc purity, dangerously close to weapons grade. Israel’s military is preparing for tough measures if the talks collapse. Pressure for a speedy outcome of the Vienna talks is high, in light of the Iranian nuclear program’s rapid advance towards “breakout” and Tehran’s refusal to allow the UN watchdog’s inspectors full access to disputed sites.