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U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Leaves Post Amid Iran Nuclear Talks

Indirect talks between Iran and the United States resumed almost two months ago. Western diplomats have indicated they were hoping for a breakthrough over the next few weeks, but sharp differences remain. Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.
U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran Leaves Post Amid Iran Nuclear Talks
Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani with delegations wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria December 9, 2021. EU Delegation in Vienna/EEAS/Handout via REUTERS

U.S. News

A senior member of the U.S. team negotiating with Iran has left the role amid a report of differences of opinion on the way forward, as the urgency to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal intensifies.

A State Department official confirmed on Monday that Richard Nephew, U.S. Deputy Special Envoy for Iran, is no longer on the negotiating team, but was still a State Department employee. The official did not give a reason for the change but said personnel moves were ‘very common’ a year into an administration.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Nephew left after differences of opinion within the U.S. negotiating team on Iran. The paper said he had advocated a tougher posture in the current negotiations.

The departure comes at a critical time as the United States and its European allies last week said there were just weeks to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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