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Iran Deal “Closer than Ever”?

February 18, 2022

by: Kate Norman

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The Iranian flag

Friday, 18 February 2022 | The talks in Vienna are “closer than ever to an agreement” to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, the regime’s chief negotiator tweeted on Wednesday.

“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, though,” Ali Bagheri posted to Twitter.

“Our negotiating partners need to be realistic, avoid intransigence and heed lessons of [the] past [four years],” Bagheri added. “Time for their serious decisions.”

Sources in the know seem to be indicating that the talks in Vienna will be drawing to a close within the next few days.

In fact, the negotiations are “in the midst of the very final stages,” US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday, adding that Washington will better be able to gage how serious the Islamic regime is “in the coming days.”

France echoed that sentiment, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warning the Senate that Iran needs to decide in days, not weeks, whether to return to compliance.

“The more this goes on, the more Iran is accelerating its nuclear procedures,” the foreign minister warned.

While the US and France are pointing the finger at Iran for dragging its feet, Tehran has its own finger pointed at the West, saying it was up to them to reach a new agreement.

“All JCPOA sanctions with any labels must be lifted at the same time,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached between the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus Germany) and Iran in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear development in return for sanctions relief. The deal fell apart, however, in 2018, when the US unilaterally exited the JCPOA and reimposed sanctions against Tehran in a “maximum pressure” campaign.

A year later, Iran began openly and progressively violating its restrictions under the JCPOA, stockpiling more uranium than allowed at a higher percentage of enrichment than allowed.

Since taking office in 2020, the new administration in Washington under President Joe Biden has been anxious to resuscitate the deal.

And eight rounds of talks in Vienna seemed to be going nowhere, with experts warning that if the negotiations dragged on any longer, all while Iran continues its nuclear development, reviving the nuclear deal might be a moot point.

A 20-page draft agreement is reportedly in the works, which would see all parties return to compliance in phases, the Times of Israel reported. The agreement includes a demand from Washington that Western prisoners in Iran be released, Reuters reported.

Posted on February 18, 2022

Source: (Bridges for Peace, February 17, 2022)

Photo Credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

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