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EU Says Talks with Iran ‘Positive Enough’ to Reopen Nuclear Negotiations

By Asharq Al-Awsat
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell holds a press conference after the meeting, Supporting the future of Syria and the region, at the European Council building in Brussels, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (AP)

The EU's foreign policy chief said on Friday that he believed there had been enough progress during consultations between his envoy and Iranian officials in Tehran this week to relaunch nuclear negotiations after two months of deadlock.

Talks to revive Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers have been on hold since March, chiefly over Tehran's insistence that Washington remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps from the US list of designated terrorist organizations.

Speaking as talks coordinator Enrique Mora arrived back in Europe, Josep Borrell said Iran's response had been "positive enough" after Mora had delivered a message that things could not continue as they were.

"These things can not be resolved overnight," Borrell told reporters at a G7 foreign ministers meeting in northern Germany. "Let's say the negotiations were blocked and they have been de-blocked and that means there is the prospective of reaching a final agreement."

The broad outline of the deal that aims to revive the accord which restrains Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions was essentially agreed in March.

However, it has since been thrown into disarray after last-minute Russian demands and the dispute over the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

Western officials are largely losing hope that it can be resurrected, sources familiar with the matter have said, forcing them to weigh how to limit Iran's atomic program even as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has divided the big powers.

"It has gone better than expected - the negotiations were stalled, and now they have been reopened," Borrell said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Mora’s trip had been "an opportunity to focus on initiatives to resolve the remaining issues".

"A good and reliable agreement is within reach if the United States makes a political decision and adheres to its commitments," he said.

A French diplomatic source said on Thursday he saw little chance of the United States agreeing to remove Iran's elite security force from its list of foreign terrorist organizations any time soon.

Mora has been in Tehran this week in what has been described as the last chance to salvage the 2015 accord, which then US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia are also parties to the accord.

In a bizarre incident, Mora and his team were held at Frankfurt airport for several hours on return from the Iranian capital on Friday.

"We were kept separated. Refusal to give any explanation for what seems a violation of the Vienna Convention," he said on Twitter. Germany authorities did not immediately comment.

Iran's official IRNA news agency alleged, without evidence, that Israel was behind the incident.

"What has happened in Frankfurt has to do with opposition to the progress in the nuclear talks ... The Zionist lobby has influence in the German security apparatus," it said.

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Dive Deeper:
EU sees reopening of Iran nuclear talks but US cautious
Wangels (Germany) (AFP) - The European Union said Friday it had unblocked stalled talks with Iran after a mission to…
EU's Borrell says coordinator trip to Iran was positive
The EU's foreign policy chief said on Friday that he believed a trip to Tehran by his coordinator to the…
Top EU diplomat hopeful for deal at Iran nuclear talks
The European Union’s foreign policy chief says he's hopeful that stalled talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear program can…
Qatar, EU say pushing stalled Iran nuclear talks
Tehran (AFP) - Qatar's emir and the European Union on Thursday said they are working to push forward stalled negotiations…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
EU envoy meets Iran nuclear negotiator in Tehran
Tehran (AFP) - The European Union's coordinator for nuclear talks with Iran, Enrique Mora, held talks in Tehran on Wednesday…
EU Envoy to Iran Nuclear Talks Detained at German Airport
The European Union’s main representative at the nuclear talks with Iran says he was briefly detained with colleagues at Frankfurt…
Get all your news in one place