Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The European Commission expects negotiators to renew the Iran nuclear deal in the coming days.
Josep Borrell, EC Vice-President and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, noted on the margins of the Doha Forum that negotiators are close to an agreement, France24 reported at the week-end.
Negotiators from Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK have been engaging directly in talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), while US negotiators are taking part indirectly.
“We are very close but there are still some issues pending”, Borrell said, indicating that “it is a matter of days.” His comment came as his Chief of Staff, Enrique Mora, the EU coordinator for the JCPOA talks, was due in Tehran and Iran had dropped its demand that the US remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of terrorist organisations.
Mora had pointed out that his trip to Tehran was aimed at reaching agreement on remaining differences.
Western countries have been urging the need to revive the JCPOA, citing the speed with which Iran’s nuclear programme picked up pace after the US withdrew from the agreement.
IRGC officials had indicated that the de-listing demand could be dropped if the deal was otherwise in line with Iran’s national interests, However, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stressed that “the issue of the IRGC is definitely part of our negotiations.”
The talks have been on hold since 11 March when Moscow demanded guarantees that Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine would not harm Russia’s trade with Iran.
Several days later, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged that Moscow had been assured of the guarantees.
On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price insisted that it was up to Iran to decide how to proceed, noting that “the onus is on Tehran to make decisions that it might consider difficult.” He said there were a number “of difficult issues that we are still trying to work through.”.
The JCPOA hinges on preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, something Tehran maintains it has never planned to do.