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Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

EU says Iran nuclear deal meeting possible ‘this week’

EU says Iran nuclear deal meeting possible ‘this week’

A possible meeting on resurrecting the Iran nuclear deal could be held “this week” after Tehran submitted its response to an EU proposal, the European Union's top diplomat said Monday.
Efforts to revive the so-called JCPOA -- the 2015 agreement between world powers and Tehran aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions -- are at a critical juncture.

“A meeting was scheduled to take place in Vienna at the end of last week, but it was not possible,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a news conference in Santander, Spain.

“It is possible that it could take place this week.”

Earlier this month, after more than a year of talks coordinated by Borrell and his team, the EU submitted what it called a “final” text.

The document aims at fully restoring the nuclear deal by bringing the United States back into it, after then-president Donald Trump had Washington withdraw in 2018.

That move prompted Iran to roll back its commitments under the JCPOA and steadily enrich its stock of uranium to close to weapons-grade levels.

Borrell said the negotiations had gone as far as they could go and “this is the inflection point”.

“There was an Iranian response that I considered reasonable to transmit to the United States.

“The United States has not formally replied yet. But we are waiting for their response and I hope that response will allow us to finish the negotiation -- I hope so, but I can't assure you of it.”

The other parties to the JCPOA are Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday spoke by phone to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who claimed the new terms “go beyond the limits of the original JCPOA”.

Tehran is Israel's arch foe and Lapid warned that reviving the landmark accord could boost funding to Iran's regional proxies.

“It will pave the way for significant investment to flow into Iran's terrorist network and to strengthening the Iranian military,” said a statement from Lapid's office.
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