Europe

EU hopes to find compromise 'very soon' on reviving Iran nuclear deal

With all options exhausted, time has come for clear decision, says EU official

Agnes Szucs   | 05.08.2022
EU hopes to find compromise 'very soon' on reviving Iran nuclear deal

BRUSSELS

The European Union hopes that talks in Vienna will lead “very soon” to an agreement on reviving the Iran nuclear deal because all options are exhausted, an EU official said on Friday.

“The time has come for a final effort” on discussing EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s recent proposal and to take a “clear and decisive political decision,” Peter Stano, the EU’s diplomatic service lead spokesperson, told the European Commission’s daily news briefing.

After a five-month break, negotiations resumed on Thursday in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal – officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – by finding a compromise between the US and Iran.

As coordinator of the deal, Borrell drafted recently a new proposal on lifting US sanctions and ensuring Iran’s compliance with nuclear requirements.

Stano explained that the talks in Vienna are focused on finding an understanding based on Borrell’s text and that the EU delegation is “facilitating proximity talks between the US and Iranian chief negotiator.”

“After almost two years of intense negotiations, the space for further compromise for a further agreement has been exhausted,” Stano said.

“We hope to have very soon a result,” he added.

While Borrell said on Thursday that he remained “relatively optimistic” about finding a compromise, diplomatic sources expressed “low expectations” due to heightened tensions between Iran and the US.

Another key point toward a deal is also in doubt after Iran’s state news agency dismissed Western media reports that Tehran could drop its demand that Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, be removed from the US terrorist list in exchange for sanctions relief.

The nuclear deal was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the EU.

Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activity to civilian purposes and in return, world powers agreed to drop their economic sanctions against Iran.

The US, under then-President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to stop complying with the nuclear deal.

The EU, as coordinator of the deal, has made significant efforts to get Iran and the US back to the negotiating table since the beginning of the conflict.

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