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3rd Dec 2022

EU hopeful of Iran nuclear deal

  • Tehran remains cautious over the final text hammered out in Vienna (Photo: Recovering Sick Soul)
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The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says the text to revive a 2015 Iran nuclear deal has been finalised following informal talks in Vienna.

"What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it's now in a final text," said Borrell, in a tweet posted on Monday (8 August).

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Borrell said the deal could be signed once the political forces aligned behind the text in the respective capitals following five days of talks in Austria.

Reuters, citing an unnamed US state department spokesperson, said Washington was ready to "quickly conclude a deal" based on the proposals made by the European Union.

Similar statements were made by Russia's chief negotiator, Mikhail Ulyanov.

But Tehran struck a more cautious note, noting that it is not up to the EU, which coordinates the talks, to decide if a text has been finalised or not.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, who is an adviser to the Iranian negotiating team in Vienna, said it's for the parties to decide on a future final text.

In a statement, Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also said that "a final deal should protect the rights of the Iranian nation and guarantee the lifting of sanctions."

The statement harkens back to former US president Donald Trump's 2018 decision to unilaterally scrap the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

That deal was reached in 2015 between Iran and the so-called P5+1 — the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China plus Germany, in a structure chaired by the European Union.

Iran had agreed to eliminate most of its already-enriched uranium for 13 years, and only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent for the next 15 years.

In return, the United Nations and the EU would terminate some sanctions, and suspend others. Iran would then be able to access to €100bn of frozen assets abroad.

But Trump imposed stiff sanctions with Iran, in response, expanding its nuclear programme and breaching limitations on uranium enrichment.

Some of the major issues in the latest deal include the scope of probes by the International Atomic Energy Agency at several Iranian nuclear sites. Iran wants those probes to end in order for the agreement to be restored.

Iran had also wanted to have its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps removed from the US terror list, a demand that it has since reportedly dropped.

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