Tehran, Iran – The European Union’s coordinator will head to Iran in an effort to help Tehran and Washington finalise stalled negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal, from which former United States President Donald Trump pulled out unilaterally in 2018.
Enrique Mora, deputy secretary-general of the European External Action Service and coordinator for nuclear talks, will arrive in the Iranian capital later on Saturday and is reportedly expected to visit Washington on Monday.
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“We must conclude this negotiation. Much is at stake,” Mora tweeted prior to his trip, during which he will meet with Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani.
On Saturday, EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell told a conference in Doha that Iran and the world powers are “very close” to an agreement.
Earlier this month Borrell had called for a pause in the talks in Vienna, the Austrian capital, that began in April 2021 due to “external factors”.
The pause was initially aimed at dealing with the issue of a last-minute Russian demand that sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine would not affect its dealings with Iran. The issue was resolved within days as Russia said it had received written guarantees from Washington.
Most actions required to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known, have been agreed upon. But Iran and the US have yet to finalise the agreement which seemed imminent earlier this month.
The main remaining issue appears to be lifting the “foreign terrorist organisation” (FTO) designation of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which Iran considers a major red line.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian reiterated during a visit to Beirut on Friday that he is optimistic about the prospects of an agreement, adding that it can also benefit all the countries in the region.
Meanwhile, the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters on Friday that Washington is “still seeking a diplomatic outcome here that puts Iran’s nuclear programme back in a box” but is ready to work with its partners to increase pressure on Tehran if diplomacy fails.
If an agreement is reached, it will lift harsh US sanctions imposed on Iran while recommitting Iran to the curbs of the nuclear deal that it gradually abandoned after the US withdrawal four years ago.