Wednesday, February 21, 2024

EU official could arbitrate return of Iran nuclear pact: Zarif | Middle East News

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Iran and the United States do not know which country will take the first step to return to full compliance with the 2015 agreement.

The Iranian foreign minister said that an EU official could help “synchronize” or “coordinate” Iranian and US efforts to return to a 2015 nuclear deal, as the impasse persists as to which country will take the first step.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), created a joint commission coordinated by the foreign policy chief of the EU.

This official, Josep Borrell, can “choreograph the actions” needed on both sides, Zarif said.

“There may be a mechanism to synchronize it or to coordinate what can be done,” he said.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has pledged to return to the nuclear pact, from which former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 as part of his “maximum pressure” strategy against Tehran.

As part of the agreement, signed in 2015, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Washington will revert to the Iran nuclear deal on condition that Tehran reverts to its terms.

Blinken also said the Biden administration plans to negotiate a “longer and stronger” deal.

But Zarif warned on Monday that the United States does not have “unlimited” time to return to the deal.

“The United States must come back into compliance and Iran will be ready – immediately – to respond,” Zarif said.

“The timing is not the problem. The question is whether or not the United States, be it the new administration, wants to follow the old failed policies of the Trump administration.

Political analysts have urged the United States to re-engage diplomatically with Iran, saying this is the only way to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Barbara Slavin, director of the Initiative on the Future of Iran at the Atlantic Council, said in early January that the window of opportunity was short, as Iran will hold presidential elections in June.

“Only diplomacy has proven effective in limiting Iran’s nuclear activities. It’s the only sensible way to move forward ”, Slavin wrote at this moment.


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