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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Iran nuclear deal revival at risk as US, France warn time is ‘running out’

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Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson said Tehran “will not negotiate forever”.

The US and France have warned Iran that time is running to restore the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], citing concerns over its atomic activities if talks are extended.

This came during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to France, the first high-level  visit by the Joe Biden administration to the European country.

In a joint press conference with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Blinken also said that the US still had “serious differences” with Iran.

“There will come a point, yes, where it will be very hard to return back to the standards set by the JCPOA,” Blinken told reporters.

However, the US official also said Biden continues to support the revival of the JCPOA, which was thrown to the curb when former the Donald Trump administration withdrew from it in 2018.

“We have a national interest in trying to put the nuclear problem back in the box that it was in the JCPOA,” said Blinken.

France, along with the UK, China, and Germany, is among the countries involved in the deal. All parties have been taking part in the Vienna talks since April this year.

Read also: Iran foils ‘sabotage’ attack on nuclear facility

“We expect the Iranian authorities to take the final decisions, no doubt difficult ones, which will allow the negotiations to be concluded,” said the French foreign minister at the presser.

On Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the restoration of the 2015 accord is possible, though warned Tehran “will not negotiate forever”.

“Out of a steadfast commitment to salvage a deal that the US tried to torpedo, Iran has been the most active party in Vienna, proposing most drafts,” tweeted Khatibzadeh, calling on the US to abandon Trump’s “failed” legacy.

Meanwhile on Friday, the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], demanded a response from Iran over the extension of its monitoring agreement that expired last week.

An Iranian envoy later said that Tehran was not obligated to provide an answer.

The nuclear monitoring agreement was extended in May after it expired in a move that was seen at the time as a positive indicator of Iran’s willingness to cooperate in the Vienna talks.

But its failure to extend the monitoring deal may affect the path of the ongoing negotiations.

However, Russia’s representative at the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov believes the seventh round is likely to be successful.
“Chances to complete the Vienna talks on JCPOA successfully during the seventh round seem to be high but you never know for sure in advance”

he tweeted on Friday.
“The negotiators aim at fulfilling their tasks without delay. However the quality of an outcome document comes first,” he added.

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