After nearly three months of stalemate, negotiations over reviving the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) is about to begin, with Qatar hosting the talks.
It was this Saturday that the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell traveled to Tehran to meet Iran’s top diplomats. There, Borrell announced to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that all the parties to the Iran nuclear deal, including the United States, have expressed willingness to resume the talks. “The coming days means the coming days. I mean quickly, immediately. And so, we are going to break this stalemate and stop this escalation process in which we were.” Borrell said.
Speaking about Borrell’s visit to Iran, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry also said in a press conference this Monday that Tehran “thanks the European Union’s facilitation efforts” in trying to move ahead the stalled nuclear talks. He further noted that the EU foreign policy chief and Iran’s Foreign Minister met and discussed Iran’s demand for “economic guarantees” if everyone really wants to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Khatibzadeh also said that the new round of talks would start “in the coming days” and probably in “one of the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf”. He asserted that all of the nuclear-related aspects of the talks have been settled between the negotiating parties. Rather, he noted, the remaining discussion will be about the removal of sanctions against Iran. “The ball in is America’s court and if they come back with an answer, work can be done quickly and we can be hopeful about an agreement.” Khatibzadeh said.
Also, and in a message posted on Instagram, Amir-Abdollahian wrote that Borrell came to Iran to “end the deadlock” over the negotiations, adding that his country “has remained committed to the terms of the JCPOA and will continue negotiations as the United States should also continue the talks in a fair and realistic way.”
What is Washington saying?
Also on this Monday, a Biden administration spokesperson echoed the same news and said that negotiations over Iran’s nuclear deal are set to resume this week in the Qatari capital of Doha. “We are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA. But for that, Iran needs to decide to drop their additional demands that go beyond the JCPOA,” the spokesperson also added. This new round of negotiations would mark the first time that the parties gather in Qatar. Previous nuclear talks used to take place in Austria’s capital of Vienna.
The JCPOA was a joint effort to resolve Iran’s nuclear concerns in exchange for an easing of U.S. and international economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, and in a move contrary to the JCPOA terms, the US former president Donald Trump pulled his country out of the deal and ordered the return of all previously removed sanctions against Iran. In response, Iran also resumed some of the nuclear-related activities that it had promised to halt for some years including the expansion of its enrichment capacities.
When coming to power last year in January, Biden tried to revive the deal and negotiations even came close to an agreement before March. But then talks stopped as Washington disagreed with removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from a U.S. terrorism blacklist.
This made negotiations to revive the JCPOA stuck in a state of limbo for about three months. But now, it seems all the parties have come to a common ground and do want to save the JCPOA once for all.