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August 18, 2022 2:58 pm

Israel Concerned by Reported EU Concessions to Iran in Negotiations to Revive Nuclear Deal; Lapid Warns US

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Iranian opposition activists demonstrate in Vienna outside negotiations to revive the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Photo: Reuters/Lisa Leutner

A little over a week after the EU’s foreign policy chief emphasized that there could be no further revisions to the draft of a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, details of what is reportedly included in the text have raised Israeli concerns over unwarranted concessions to the Islamic Republic.

According to the Persian-language broadcaster Iran International, which opposes Iran’s ruling regime, at least six significant concessions have been made to Iran in a bid to secure Tehran’s agreement to a deal that will revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) agreed between the Iranians, the US and five additional world powers. The US withdrew from the deal in 2018, arguing that its provisions would not prevent Iran from eventually developing a nuclear weapon.

The measures reportedly include:

  • The lifting of sanctions against 17 banks and the release of $7 billion of Iranian assets located in South Korea.
  • In addition, 150 Iranian institutions will benefit from sanctions relief, among them Setad — a body created by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which controls operations in real estate, energy and finance from the office of the country’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
  • 50 million barrels of Iranian oil will be sold on the open market within 120 days of sanctions being lifted.
  • Annulment of the three executive orders targeting Iranian leaders signed by former President Donald Trump.
  • Exemption from US sanctions for foreign companies with interests in Iran.

On Aug. 8, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, stated on Twitter that “what can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now the final text.” A spokesperson for Borrell later confirmed that there was “no more room for other compromises.”

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Meanwhile, Israeli news outlets reported that Prime Minister Yair Lapid had sent a message to US President Joe Biden expressing concern that the measures in the renewed agreement breach the White House’s own guidelines.

“The time has come to walk away from the table,” Lapid is reported to have said according to Israeli reporter Barak Ravid. “Anything else sends a message of weakness to Iran. Now is the time to talk about what to do going forward in order to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Separately, Iran’s foreign minister sounded a note of cautious optimism for a renewed agreement at ongoing talks in Vienna.

“After receiving comments from the US, if Iran’s red lines are respected and economic benefits are ensured, a new phase will start in Vienna,” Hossein Amirabdollahian said during an official visit to Oman. He added that “we cannot speak with certainty about reaching a good and lasting agreement until everything is agreed upon.”


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