Exchange of Ideas on Conclusion of Nuclear Talks Underway

Exchange of Ideas on Conclusion of Nuclear Talks Underway
Exchange of Ideas on Conclusion of Nuclear Talks Underway

Iran and the other participants in talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are exchanging ideas on how to conclude the long dragged-out negotiations in the Austrian capital Vienna, according to Iran’s top negotiator.
“Had serious & constructive exchanges w/ other sides in the course of the past week on Vienna negotiations,” Ali Baqeri Kani said in a tweet. 
Talks have been underway for more than a year to work out how both the United States and Iran can resume compliance with the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which offered sanctions relief to Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear activity.
The US quit the JCPOA in 2018 and reimposed tough sanctions which prompted Iran to react by scaling down its commitments.
Vienna negotiations have been stalled since March over a few final differences, and proximity talks between Iran and the US with the mediation of the European Union in Doha, Qatar, did little in helping settle the outstanding bilateral issues. 
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, as coordinator of JCPOA, has now proposed a text which he says will address both sides’ concerns. 
“Coordinator has shared his ideas to conclude the negotiations. We, too, have our own ideas, both in substance & form, to conclude the negotiations which would be shared,” Baqeri said in his tweet. 
The EU negotiator described the proposal as “the best possible deal for all parties” which is now on the table. 
“It ensures clear, measurable economic benefits for the Iranian people and verifiable non-proliferation benefits for the international community,” Enrique Mora tweeted. 
“I invite all participants to take the last step.” 
A stumbling block to the conclusion of talks was Iran’s legitimate demand for guarantees that it can enjoy the economic benefits of the JCPAO completely in the future. 
The US accused Iran of making extraneous demands beyond the purview of the original deal. 
“I have now put on the table a text that addresses, in precise detail, the sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore the JCPOA,” Borrell said in an opinion piece published by the Financial Times.
He said this text represents the best possible deal that he, as facilitator of the negotiations, see as feasible, and that decisions need to be taken now to seize this unique opportunity to succeed
“I see no other comprehensive or effective alternative within reach,” he added. 



Joint Responsibility 

The proposed text is not a perfect agreement, according to Borrell, but it addresses all essential elements and includes hard-won compromises by all sides.
The plan may not have addressed all US concerns, he said, pointing out that the original JCPOA was never meant to do so. 
It will, however, restore the benefit of winding down Iran’s nuclear program and opening it up to monitoring and inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, he said. 
Borrell also said Iran’s reservations over the full implementation of JCPOA after the negative experience of the recent years are understandable, but noted that his proposal reflects the determination of all JCPOA participants to ensure its sustainability, including the commitment of President Joe Biden and US assurances in this regard.
“As a result, the deal is better protected from potential unilateral moves to undermine it.”
The EU top diplomat called for “swift political decisions” to conclude the Vienna negotiations on the basis of his proposed text and to immediately return to a fully implemented JCPOA.
“It is our joint responsibility to conclude the deal.”
The US is also reviewing the draft that the EU high representative has shared.
“We will share reactions we have directly with the EU,” US State Department Ned Price said in a briefing.
He said the basis of Borrell’s proposal is the draft that has been on the table since March. 
“We are studying the changes that have been proposed by the EU; we’ll respond to them in short order.” 
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had earlier said that more than 95% of issues were agreed upon in the text drawn up in March, but there was a major shortcoming regarding guarantees for Iran’s continued economic benefit from the JCPOA. 

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