search

EU foreign policy chief ‘less confident’ Iran deal can be revived

Borrell says Tehran’s latest response to EU draft ‘not constructive,’ warns sides are moving away from potential compromise

European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference during an EU-Ukraine Association Council meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on September 5, 2022. (John THYS/AFP)
European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks during a press conference during an EU-Ukraine Association Council meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on September 5, 2022. (John THYS/AFP)

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is shepherding attempts to save the suspended Iran nuclear deal, said Monday that recent exchanges left him “less confident.”

Borrell said of Iran’s latest response to an EU-drafted text last week, which hardened Tehran’s demands on Washington, “If the purpose is to close the deal quickly, it is not going to help it.”

On August 7, Borrell put forward what he called a final text to restore the 2015 accord that former US president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

Talks to revive the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have been ongoing in Vienna since April 2021, and in recent weeks, Iran and Washington have been responding to the EU text.

On Thursday, however, Washington said that Iran’s latest proposed changes to the text were “not constructive” and on Monday, Iran complained that it had not yet received an official US response.

Speaking at a news conference in Brussels, Borrell said that his “carefully balanced” text had been “well received” and that, initially, it had seemed the parties were converging on a common position.

Enrique Mora, a leading European Union diplomat, second right, attends a meeting with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, third left, in Tehran, Iran, March 27, 2022. (Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)

“But the last interaction is not converging, it is diverging,” he said. “That is very much worrisome if the process does not converge. The whole process is in danger.

“So I have to say that the last answer I got, if the purpose is to close the deal quickly, it is not going to help it,” he said. “So what I’m doing to keep consulting with all other JCPOA participants, and in particular the US.

“But I’m sorry to say that I am less confident today than 28 hours before, about the convergence of the negotiation process and about the prospect of closing the deal right now.”

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed