10/28/2021, 00.00
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Tehran, nuclear talks to resume by 'end of November'

Iran's chief negotiator speaks of "very serious and constructive dialogue" on "essential" elements. Date set next week. U.S. special envoy adds, "Critical phase." Tehran tclaims a foreign "state actor" behind the hacker attack that has blocked the fuel stations. On the web the claim of the fictitious group "Predatory Sparrow". 



Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Talks between Tehran and world powers to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Jcpoa) will resume within the next month. That's what the Islamic Republic's chief negotiator announced, as Western governments raise fears of further advance

"Had a very serious & constructive dialogue with @enriquemora_ on the essential elements for successful negotiations. We agree to start negotiations before the end of November," Ali Bagheri Kani wrote on Twitter after meeting EU officials in Brussels. "Exact date would be announced in the course of the next week," he added.

In the past days the US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley had said that the efforts to relaunch the pact were in a "critical phase", while there are still differences between the two countries on the steps to be taken and when they should be taken, especially with regard to enrichment limits and type of sanctions to be cancelled. 

Over the past two years, Tehran progressively violated the terms of the pact by easing restrictions on nuclear activities. The first steps in this direction date back to 2019, in response to the May 2018 withdrawal by the then US President Donald Trump from the JCPOA and the reintroduction of the toughest sanctions in history, causing a collapse of the Iranian economy. The temporary agreement expired on June 24 and international diplomats have been working on a new nuclear deal. However, the aftermath of the presidential elections that saw the victory of the ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi raises fears of a definitive collapse of the talks. 

Yesterday, the Teheran government returned to the blockade of fuel distribution plants that hit the whole country on October 26, attributing the responsibility of the cyber-attack to a "state actor"; the reference is to a foreign nation, but it is not made explicit by the government, while on the web appeared the claim of a fictitious group that says it is called "Predatory Sparrow".

According to Raisi, the objective was to fuel "public anger". Only 5% of the 4,300 gas stations scattered around the country were reconnected to the network yesterday morning, as reported by the head of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (Niopdc). However, more than 3 thousand stations were able to dispense fuel "offline", outside the government-mandated capped price.

The secretary of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, Abolhassan Firuzabadi, added that the attack came from a foreign state but it is "too early" to say which one and how. Finally, the semi-official Fars news agency speculates a link between the hacker attack and the second anniversary of the fall 2019 street protests, which flared up following the 50% increase in the cost of gasoline and were bloodily repressed with over 300 casualties.

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