Iran nuclear deal

Israel sends diplomats to Vienna for nuclear talks, Iran says ‘obstacle to progress’

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Israel sent a delegation to Vienna to make its voice heard regarding the ongoing Iran nuclear talks for the first time, an action that displeased Tehran

The delegation is headed by Joshua Zarka, the deputy director general for strategic Affairs at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, according to the Times of Israel.

Zarka met with Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's envoy to talks on the nuclear pact, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General, Rafael Grossi.

Ulyanov tweeted: “Israeli colleagues from the capital and their Permanent Mission in Vienna visited us today. We discussed #IAEA-related issues.” Zarka responded by thanking Ulyanov for a “frank and important discussion.”

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Israel’s delegation is also scheduled to meet with US officials taking part indirectly in the nuclear negotiations, as well as all parties to the abandoned 2015 nuclear pact - China, France, Germany, and UK, all except for Iran.

Iran’s Nour News, affiliated with the country’s top national security body, tweeted a response to Israel’s presence in Vienna saying: “The unexpected presence of the Zionists in Vienna is undoubtedly an obstacle to the current sensitive situation.”

It added: “The discussions of the representatives of the Zionist entity with Grossi and Ulyanov, whatever their purpose, will only be a step towards the role that this entity plays in its self-destruction.”

Currently, tensions are high over whether or not the Vienna talks to revive the abandoned nuclear accord would succeed.

As Iran’s long-time foe, Israel strongly opposes the 2015 nuclear deal and doesn’t want the US to return to it under Joe Biden’s presidency.

Israel has also repeatedly announced it is preparing for a military strike on Iranian nuclear targets and would take unilateral action against Tehran if it had to.

Iran responded to the Israeli threat by threatening to target all the sites used to launch the attacks.

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