EU sees 'window of opportunity' for revival of JCPOA
Iran said on Tuesday any decision about the fate of the ongoing talks in Vienna on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal will be made by its superior bodies.
“Any decision and policymaking in this regard is the responsibility of the higher institutions,” Government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters in Tehran when he was asked about an agreement that allows UN inspectors to continue monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities.
The deal between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached in February is due to expire on May 21.
Under the agreement, cameras installed by the IAEA at Iran’s nuclear sites would keep running but their withheld footage would be deleted if the Vienna talks fail to produce desired results.
The changes to the monitoring and inspection regime was passed last year by Iran's Parliament.
Negotiations have been going on in the Austrian capital since early April between Iran and the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia – as well as the European Union which act as intermediaries.
The goal is to find a way back for the United States to the accord known as JCPOA, which former US president Donald Trump walked away from in 2018 and which his successor Joe Biden wants to rejoin.
For that to happen, the US must lift the sanctions reinstated by Trump and Iran needs to resume full compliance with the terms of the deal which it began to cross a year after the US unilateral withdrawal.
Iran wants the United States to lift all its sanctions by the end of the three-month period.
“We hope that all parties to the JCPOA will conclude the ongoing talks for the full revival of the deal before the deadline,” Rabiei said.
He urged all members of the landmark deal “to continue to focus on reaching an agreement” by May 21.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday said an option after the deadline could be to extend that date "in case the talks are on the right track and Tehran agrees as well".
A fourth round of talks opened in Vienna on Friday, with the head of Iran's delegation at the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, hailing a "new energy".
‘Restore US credibility’
Dozens of US Democrats sent a letter to Biden, urging him to reenter the Iran nuclear deal.
In a letter to Biden sent Monday, 53 state Democratic Party leaders and Democratic National Committee members applauded the administration for entering into indirect talks with Iran to revive the JCPOA and urged him to lift “bad-faith sanctions" imposed by Trump, The Hill reported.
The Democrats said they have “strong support” for an initiative.
“Lifting Trump’s bad-faith sanctions – which he explicitly imposed on Iran in order to make a return to the JCPOA next-to-impossible – should not be treated as a concession to Iran, but rather as an effort to restore US credibility and enhance American security,” they wrote.
The Democrats said that “America’s credibility has been severely damaged and its national security damaged” after Trump’s withdrawal.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) and Democratic Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner were among the most notable signatories.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday urged "nonstop" talks in Vienna to try for a breakthrough.
"These remain an extremely delicate and intense diplomatic process. I dare to say that I am optimistic," Borrell, who serves as coordinator for the 2015 nuclear agreement, said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, AFP reported.
"There is a window of opportunity that will stay open for a couple of weeks until the end of the month, but a lot of work needs to be done, time is limited."
He added that he hoped "that the negotiations will enter in a phase of nonstop in Vienna".