EU, Iranian Negotiators Discuss Ways to Close Gaps in Vienna Talks

EU, Iranian Negotiators Discuss Ways to Close Gaps in Vienna Talks
EU, Iranian Negotiators Discuss Ways to Close Gaps in Vienna Talks

The European Union coordinator of talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, Enrique Mora, met with Iran’s top negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani on Wednesday in Tehran to discuss the sticking points as negotiations have reached a stalemate.
He had said on Twitter that he would meet Baqeri Kani and other Iranian officials on talks in the Austrian capital Vienna and other issues. 
“Work on closing the remaining gaps of this negotiation continues.” 
Negotiations started in April 2021 to restore the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear program. 
The JCPOA was violated by the United States who withdrew unilaterally in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran, who responded by scaling down its commitments. 
Despite major progress on most areas of difference, the Vienna talks have now been paused for more than a month over few remaining issues, although the exchange of messages has been carried out through the EU as intermediary. 
Mora’s trip was made at the suggestion of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who coordinates the JCPOA, and is his second visit to Tehran in two months. 
On his earlier trip in late March, he met with Baqeri Kani and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian before leaving Tehran for Washington to deliver messages. The results were not publicized, but the effort did not appear fruitful. 
Borrell had told the Financial Times that he was seeking a “middle way” to end the impasse, describing the recent diplomatic push as “the last bullet”. 
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Mora’s job is now only exchanging messages and nothing special is about to happen. 
He said Iran and the P4+1 (the other JCPOA parties) have concluded their talks and the text of the agreement has been prepared, but there are few issues on which the US must decide.
Iran blames the halt in negotiations on the US maximalist demands, saying that an agreement can easily be reached if Washington adopts a realistic approach and makes the required political decisions. 
The US says, on the other hand, that negotiation can conclude quickly if the Iranians are willing to proceed in good faith.
A sticking point is Iran’s demand for the removal of its Islamic Revolution Guards Corps from the list of terrorist organizations, which the US refuses to do, arguing that it is outside the purview of the JCPOA. 
Tehran maintains that the designation was part of the unlawful “maximum pressure campaign”, all of whose components must be revoked before Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA. 

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