European-broker efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal are likely to resume after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region this month failed to iron out differences after intense talks in Doha.
Two European diplomats with direct knowledge of this week’s talks said that, although talks did not go ahead, efforts to revive the agreement were expected to continue beyond the July deadline suggested by the UN nuclear watchdog.
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A third person familiar with the talks said efforts could resume in the Qatari capital after Biden’s visit.
A source with knowledge of the talks said the Doha talks were focused on oil sanctions, adding that among other areas actively discussed are Iran’s access to funds blocked in South Korea, sanctions on airlines and the removal of penalties on the business operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. duct
The latter is very unlikely to be agreed upon, but others were achievable, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The 2015 agreement offered Iran sanctions relief, including oil exports, in return for its enrichment activities and infiltration of the International Atomic Energy Agency oversight.
Former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions. President Joe Biden has sought more than a year to revive the deal, but Iran has rapidly expanded its nuclear work, while steadily reducing international oversight during talks.
The IAEA said in its last meeting on 9 June that its inspectors would not be able to verify Iranian nuclear activities permitted under the agreement if a diplomatic deal was not reached within a month, leaving the clock for talks ticking.
US officials have said repeatedly that the window for a deal is narrow because the accelerated pace of Iran’s nuclear work threatens to render the terms of the original deal obsolete.
Tehran’s negotiating team also reiterated complaints over the continuing IAEA’s condemnation of Iran’s lack of cooperation with the monitor, according to one of the European diplomats.
While IAEA investigators can report with a high degree of certainty that Iran is not replacing any of its declared nuclear materials, there is less confidence about what is happening inside the country’s centrifuge workshops, another European diplomat said. . Some monitors are concerned that Iran may be defending against a diplomatic standoff by hiding its uranium-enrichment capability at an undisclosed location.
The search for a deal will probably be given until at least the third quarter, after which the US will hold congressional elections that could weaken Biden’s hand.
A major meeting of the members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty has been called in New York next month. Iran has threatened to abandon that foundational deal – which limits the proliferation of nuclear weapons, in exchange for access to nuclear technologies – should the talks fail, resulting in the country returning to the UN Security Council for further sanctions. can be sent.
Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amirbadollahian said in a statement on Thursday that his country was determined to continue talks “until an agreement based on realism is reached.”
While Western officials dismissed Iran’s words in the talks as grandiose, they are not yet ready to slam the door on the talks. According to European diplomats, the role of the EU as a mediator has reached its limits, encouraging Gulf countries to play a more active role.
“The US should outline a strategy for Middle Eastern stability that is based only on containment and confrontation with Iran or a short-term reduction in oil prices,” Iranian researchers Wali Nasr and Maria Fantapi wrote in the US Journal of Foreign on Friday. Not there.” cases.
“It must establish a sustainable framework to prevent conflict,” he wrote. “The most effective way to do this would be to strike a new nuclear deal with Iran.”
Read more: EU says Iran may not cross ‘final limit’ on nuclear deal