EU ‘ready’ to receive Iranian officials, warns ‘time is running out’

EU ‘ready’ to receive Iranian officials, warns ‘time is running out’
EU ‘ready’ to receive Iranian officials, warns ‘time is running out’

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken receives European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell in Washington on October 14, 2021. afp_tickers

This content was published on Oct 15, 2021 – Jul 18:49,

October 15, 2021 – 18:49

(AFP)

European Union Foreign Minister Josep Borrell on Friday expressed his “willingness” to receive Iranian officials in Brussels, but at the same time called on Iran not to waste more time and return to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.

At the conclusion of a visit to Washington, he refused to resort to alternative plans discussed by Washington or military options that Israel hinted at this week in the face of the obstruction of diplomatic efforts to save the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“I know the Iranians somehow want advance talks with me as coordinator, and with some of the other members of the board” of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Borrell told reporters in Washington.

“I am ready for that, but time is running out” to save the deal, he added.

The European Union’s negotiator in charge of the file, Enrique Mora, visited Tehran Thursday where he urged the Iranian government to resume negotiations suspended since the election of the new Iranian president in June.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that “the two sides agreed to continue talks” in Brussels “in the coming days.” She expressed to him “serious doubts about the willingness of the Americans to fulfill their commitments.”

Borrell added, “I cannot give a specific date. I am ready to receive them if that is necessary,” knowing that he held talks Thursday in Washington with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

“I am not saying that it is very necessary, but that I show some kind of strategic patience in this regard, because we cannot allow ourselves to fail,” he added.

– ‘An unprecedented danger’ –

Washington, under the presidency of Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the international agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran gradually evaded the restrictions imposed on its nuclear program under the agreement.

The current president, Joe Biden, expressed his readiness to return to the agreement if Iran, in parallel, returned to abide by its commitments.

The indirect Vienna talks between Washington and Tehran began in April through the mediation of the other parties who signed the agreement, namely China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the European Union. But negotiations have been suspended since June.

Westerners’ impatience is growing day by day because Iran has not yet set a date for its return to Vienna.

“I understand that the new government needs time to study the file, but that time has passed, and it is time to return to the negotiating table,” Borrell said Friday.

France also called on Iran on Friday to expedite an end to all its violations of “unprecedented gravity” of the international agreement on its nuclear program.

“There is an urgent need for Iran to quickly resume full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to put an end to all activities of unprecedented severity that it is continuing in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the official name of the nuclear agreement),” the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

This comes especially as the United States, which has so far refused to consider options other than resuming negotiations on this file, changed its tone this week.

Blinken said in a joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid on Wednesday that Washington considers that “a diplomatic solution is the best way.”

But he indicated more firmly than before that Washington would not wait for a long time to resume the suspended talks, saying that “dialogue requires two parties, and at this stage we did not see any intention from Iran.” “We are ready to resort to other options if Iran does not change its course,” he added.

For his part, Lapid threatened to use force against the Islamic Republic, Israel’s archenemy in the region. “Israel reserves the right to act at any time and in any way,” he said.

On Friday, Borrell responded by saying, “I don’t want to think of alternative plans because there is no alternative plan that I can think of that would be a good plan.” “The only way to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state is to return to the agreement,” he added.

Iran and six major powers (the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China, and Germany) reached an agreement in 2015 on Tehran’s nuclear program, which allowed for the lifting of many sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, in exchange for restricting its nuclear activities and ensuring the peace of its program.

However, the effects of the agreement have become null and void since the United States decided to unilaterally withdraw from it in 2018, during the era of Trump, who re-imposed severe sanctions on Tehran. For its part, the latter, about a year after the US withdrawal, has gradually retreated from implementing most of its basic obligations under it.

 
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