A new nuclear deal also seems possible with the new Iranian President Raisi. But the EU warns that time is pressing. The new Israeli government warns of a deal.
Talks on reviving the nuclear deal with Iran were postponed in Vienna on Sunday. Iran’s negotiator, Abbas Arakchi, spoke of rapprochement. The three European signatory states Germany, France and Great Britain declared that progress was still being made, but that negotiations could not be endless.
A date for the continuation of the deliberations was not given. The EU, which is participating, believes that an agreement is possible even after hardliner Ebrahim Raisi has been elected as future Iranian president. She was “very close,” said EU foreign policy chief Jossip Borrell. Israel’s new prime minister, the nationalist Naftali Bennett, warned against further nuclear talks with the future leadership in Tehran, calling them a “regime of brutal executioners”.
Borrell: “Running out of time”
Talks about reviving the 2015 agreement have been going on in Vienna since April, and the sixth round ended on Sunday. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 under the then President Donald Trump and again imposed tough sanctions on Iran. This then gradually began to violate its requirements, particularly with regard to uranium enrichment. Trump’s successor Joe Biden is open to reviving the deal. The agreement with Iran was signed in 2015 by the USA, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany.
“We are running out of time in these negotiations,” said Borrell in Beirut. “We have invested a lot of political capital, (…) so I hope that the outcome of the election is not the last obstacle that ruins the negotiation process.” As far as he knew, that would not be the case.
Agreement seems tangible
The declaration of the three European signatory states stated that the most difficult problems still had to be resolved. “These conversations cannot go on forever.” All sides are called upon to return to Vienna and reach an agreement. “The time for decisions is getting closer.”
An agreement is now closer than ever, Arakchi told Iranian state television. But there are still unanswered questions. Bridging the remaining gaps requires decisions from the other side, he said with reference to the USA. “I hope we’ll cover this short, albeit difficult, route on the next lap.” State delegations would return to their respective capitals for consultations.
New Israeli government puts pressure
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said differences of opinion persist. This affects some of the most important issues such as the sanctions and the commitments that Iran must make, he told ABC. The decision rests with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the spiritual and political head of Iran.
Israel’s Prime Minister Bennett, on the other hand, said Raisi’s election as Iranian president is the last chance the world powers have to wake up before going back to the nuclear deal and understand who they’re doing business with. In Iran, Raisi, a close ally of Khamenei, clearly won the presidential election on Friday and replaced the moderate Hassan Ruhani at the beginning of August.
The rise of Raisi was made possible by Khamenei rather than by free popular choice, Bennett said. “A regime of brutal executioners must never have weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “Israel’s position will not change in this regard.” Iran has always stated that it does not seek nuclear weapons and that it uses its nuclear facilities to generate energy. The 2015 international nuclear agreement limits the country’s capacity to build an atomic bomb.