“We have to end this debate. The stakes are high,” Enrique Mora said on Saturday as Washington recently dampened optimism about a possible deal.
The European Union’s coordinator in charge of overseeing Iran’s nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, is expected overnight from Saturday to Sunday in Tehran, where EU diplomacy leader Josep Borrell spoke about a “case days” before the conclusion of An agreement. Enrique Mora is due to meet with Iranian chief negotiator Ali Baghéri, the official Iranian news agency Irna reported.
Iran has for months been engaged in negotiations in Vienna with China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany to revive the 2015 agreement that would prevent Tehran from acquiring the atomic bomb, in return for lifting sanctions that stifle Iran. economy.
“We have to end this negotiation. The stakes are high,” tweeted Enrique Mora, indicating that he was making an effort “to close the remaining gaps” between stakeholder positions.
The agreement fell apart after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018, decided by then-President Donald Trump, and reintroduced sanctions against Iran, which in response gradually freed itself from the borders imposed on its nuclear program. Once in the White House, Democrat Joe Biden wanted to return to the agreement, but indirect negotiations remain difficult.
“The affair of the day”
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, assessed on Saturday that the conclusion of an agreement was a “matter of days”. “We are very close to that, but there are still some outstanding issues,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Doha Forum in Qatar.
The US was a little less optimistic at the start of the week. “There has been significant progress in recent weeks, but I would like to make it clear that an agreement is neither imminent nor secure,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday as if to dampen the optimism that had prevailed since the beginning of March. among dealers.
Iran confirmed on Saturday that the removal of the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, from the US list of “terrorist organizations” was among the points still under discussion. “The issue of the Revolutionary Guards is definitely part of our negotiations,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview with state television.
“We exchanged messages with the Americans about this. So this is one of the topics that is still on the carpet, ”he added. This is the first official confirmation that removing Guardians from the US blacklist is among the topics still under discussion. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he was on the table even though senior Guardian officials had asked that he not be a “barrier” if the deal secured Iran’s “national interests”.
Blinken in Israel
Negotiations in Vienna have been on hold since March 11, after Russia demanded US guarantees that its future cooperation with Iran would not be affected by sanctions imposed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow confirmed a few days later that they had received the necessary guarantees.
According to Irna, the consultations between Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his colleagues have since continued. The European official’s visit to Tehran coincides with the visit of the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken to Israel. The prospect of an Iranian nuclear deal worries Israel, a sworn enemy of the Islamic Republic, and US allies in the Gulf region, who perceive Iran as a threat.
In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday that he was concerned that the Revolutionary Guards could be removed from the US blacklist. In February, he had already said he was “deeply concerned” about the possibility of a deal that, fearing for the Jewish state, would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran has always refused to acquire nuclear weapons.