‘It’s Yes or No’: EU Calls Time on Negotiations for Revived Iran Nuclear Deal
Efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have reached a point where no more changes can be made to the text of a renewed agreement being considered by US and Iranian negotiators, a spokesperson for the EU has said.
“It’s yes or no,” Peter Stano — the spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell — said on Tuesday. “Everything that could be negotiated has been incorporated into the final version of the text and it is now up to the signatory countries to take political decisions.”
Stano added there was “no more room for other compromises.” He noted that “as coordinator of the negotiations, Josep Borrell expects decisive political decisions. He has not set any deadline, but we expect all participants to make this decision very quickly.”
Stano’s comments reiterated tweets posted by Borrell on Monday evening, in which he stated that “what can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now the final text.”
The US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) — the technical name for the 2015 deal — in 2018. Other parties to the agreement are Russia, China, the UK and France, with Germany included on behalf of the EU bloc of nations.
Iran was giving little away regarding its own intentions, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian insisting that an agreement was possible as long as the parties adopted “a realistic approach, putting aside unconstructive [sic] stances, especially on part of the US.”
In remarks quoted by the Iranian state news agency IRNA, Amirabdollahian added that Iranian negotiators attending the talks in Vienna “had informed EU Coordinator Enrique Mora of the Islamic Republic’s approaches and considerations regarding the proposals he put forward, adding that all parties are expected to show determination and seriousness to reach a final text of an agreement.”
Separately, an Iranian negotiator told IRNA that Tehran’s representatives in Vienna had frequently succeeded in getting “the US and European governments to retreat from their irrational stands.”
“The Iranian negotiators have repeatedly ignored hollow threats and deadlines by the other parties so as to take key concessions to benefit the long-term interests of the Iranian nation,” Mohammad Marandi, a senior adviser to the Iranian delegation, told the agency.
On Tuesday, Israeli media outlets reported that Israeli officials do not believe that Iran will agree to the revised deal.
“There wasn’t any strategic shift in terms of the Iranians,” one Israeli official told the Associated Press news agency. “They don’t want to accept this agreement, and they will struggle to accept anything that isn’t a significant improvement of the original nuclear deal.”
The text for the renewed agreement reportedly includes guarantees that foreign companies will be able to invest and operate in Iran once sanctions are lifted. However, the US is understood to be reluctant to lift the terrorism designation against the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a key demand on Tehran’s part.