Iran’s foreign minister called on the United States to take a “brave decision” in order to reach a “fair” agreement on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
“The US government must take a realistic and brave decision in order to reach a lasting, firm and fair agreement that redresses its wrong approach of the past,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres over the phone late Friday night.
Iran has been engaged for over a year in negotiations with France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China directly, and the US indirectly to resurrect the JCPOA from which Washington withdrew unilaterally four years ago and reimposed sanctions on Tehran under a “maximum pressure” campaign.
The talks had progressed most of the way toward reviving the deal, but they have been on hold since March 11 as several pending issues still remain unresolved.
Among the sticking points is Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from the US list of “terrorists”.
Amir-Abdollahian blamed US “maximum pressure” for the status quo of the tattered JCPOA. He also criticized the approval of a recent motion in the US Senate that seeks to bar the administration of President Joe Biden from possibly lifting the IRGC terrorist designation.
The top diplomat said Iran and the US continue to exchange messages through the European Union over the JCPOA.
EU seeks ‘middle way’ on IRGC
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the Financial Times on Saturday that that he was seeking a “middle way” to end the impasse, which threatens to scupper more than a year of diplomatic efforts.
Borrell is considering a scenario whereby the designation on the IRGC is lifted, but kept in place on other parts of the organization, the FT reported.
EU negotiator Enrique Mora is to visit Tehran on Tuesday, according to Iran’s Nour News, affiliated with the Supreme National Security Council.
It said the visit can be construed as a “fresh step” toward resuming constructive consultations about the few, yet important, remaining issues.
“The diplomatic process in the Austrian capital reached a stage where its further progress became contingent on a US political decision,” Nour News added.
Borrell described Mora’s upcoming visit as “the last bullet”.
He maintained that negotiators would not give Iran an ultimatum.