EU presents ‘final’ text to resurrect Iran nuclear deal

A general view shows the Palais Coburg, where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran are taking place in Vienna, Austria, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Leutner

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DUBAI/WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The European Union said on Monday it had tabled a “final” text to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after four days of indirect talks between U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna.

“What can be negotiated has been negotiated and is now in a final text. However, behind every technical issue and every paragraph there is a political decision to be made in capitals,” the EU’s foreign policy chief tweeted. , Joseph Borrell.

“If these answers are positive, then we can sign this agreement,” he added as the EU, Iran and the United States prepared to leave Vienna.

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Earlier, a senior EU official told reporters that no further changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months, and said he expected a final decision from the parties within “a very, very few weeks.” “.

“It’s a package proposal… You can’t agree with page 20 and disagree with page 50. You have to say yes or no,” he said.

While Washington said it was ready to quickly reach an agreement to revive the deal based on the EU’s proposals, Iranian officials said they would convey their “additional views and considerations” to the European Union, which coordinates the negotiations. talks, after consultations in Tehran. .

The Iranian website Nournews, affiliated with the country’s Supreme National Security Council which makes the decisions in the nuclear talks, said the EU, as coordinator of the talks, lacked the authority to “submit its proposals as a final text.”

“The goal is to force Iran to accept the text… under pressure… when Iran, as one of the negotiating parties, does not accept it as a final text, no other authority can speak on the finalization of the text,” it said.

Iran has made demands that the United States and other Western powers consider beyond the scope of reviving the agreement, such as insisting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) drop its claims that Iran has not fully explained traces of uranium at various sites. undeclared.

Each side sought to put the onus on the other to reach a compromise.

“They (the Iranians) repeatedly say that they are prepared to return to the mutual implementation of the JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). Let’s see if his actions match his words,” a US State Department spokesman said.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran curbed its nuclear program in exchange for relief from US, EU and UN sanctions.

But former US President Donald Trump reneged on the nuclear deal in 2018 and reinstated harsh US sanctions, prompting Tehran to start violating the deal’s nuclear limits about a year later.

The pact seemed poised for a revival in March, but 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the administration of US President Joe Biden in Vienna were derailed mainly by Iran’s insistence that Washington remove its elite Revolutionary Guards Corps from the military. List of United States Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Reuters, citing an Iranian and a European official, reported in June that Tehran had reduced demand.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters on Monday that “apart from Tehran’s demand on the closure of the IAEA investigation, several other issues remained to be discussed.”

Iran has also sought assurances that no future US president would renege on the deal if it were revived, as Trump did. But Biden cannot provide such ironclad guarantees because the deal is a political understanding rather than a legally binding treaty.

Iranian state media hinted at this problem on Monday.

“The final agreement must secure the rights and interests of the Iranian people and ensure the effective and stable removal of sanctions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told Borrell in a call, state media reported.

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Reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai; Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Written by Arshad Mohammed and Parisa Hafezi Edited by Alistair Bell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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