by: Kate Norman
Tuesday, 28 June 2022 | The frozen talks to revive the nuclear deal with Iran may be warming back up after a surprise visit by Europe’s top diplomat to Tehran over the weekend. Indirect talks are reportedly scheduled between US and Iranian diplomats in Qatar this week.
After a three-month limbo, the talks will resume “quickly, immediately,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced from the Iranian capital after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday.
The nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to relieve sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear development program.
The US exited the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, and a year later, Iran announced that it would begin violating the restrictions imposed under the JCPOA and has progressively violated the agreements since then.
In fact, Iran’s head of the Supreme National Security Council said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic will continue its nuclear development until the West halts what he called its “illegal behavior,” Reuters reported, citing Iran’s state-run IRNA media.
“Iran’s retaliatory actions in the nuclear sector are merely legal and rational responses to US unilateralism and European inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices are not changed,” Ali Shamkhani said, as quoted by IRNA and Reuters, while meeting Borrell during the EU chief’s visit to Tehran.
Borrell posted to Twitter about his visit to Iran saying that they “deblocked [the] recent deadlock and that halted [JCPOA] negotiations will resume.”
The nuclear talks froze three months ago when Iran demanded that the US remove its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, which Washington refused to do.
Iran reportedly walked back on that demand, according to a Reuters report last week, citing Iranian and European officials, but is remaining steadfast on demands about sanctions.
Iranian media reported yesterday that the regime will engage in indirect talks with the US in Qatar.
Washington’s envoy for Iran reportedly was set to arrive in the Qatari capital of Doha yesterday to meet with the nation’s foreign minister and prepare for the talks, the Jerusalem Post reported, adding that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator would be there on Tuesday and Wednesday for talks.
Regardless of how the talks go, Israel and her Arab neighbors in the Middle East are preparing to defend themselves against the Iranian threat.
In fact, Israel is having its own meeting on Monday with officials from the US, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in southern Israel’s Negev.
The meeting is a follow-up to a historic summit that took place in April, to discuss a united front against Iran’s regional aggression as well as the blossoming ties between Israel and her Arab neighbors following the historic 2020 Abraham Accords.
In another important meeting, senior Israeli military and defense officials met with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt, as well as the US, in a secret meeting in Egypt, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Sunday. The topic of the meeting was shared threats from Iran and how to counter the regime’s regional aggression.
The participation of Saudi Arabia and Qatar was significant as neither country has diplomatic relations with Israel. Facing a shared bully, however, can bring together the unlikeliest of friends.
Also of note is that production in a major state-owned steel company in Iran was interrupted in a cyberattack on Monday, the company reported. The CEO in his statement did not blame any particular entity for the attack and said that all operations had resumed as normal by the end of the day.
Amid all the meetings and Europe’s desperate attempts to broker renewed talks, it seems that Western diplomats are working to ensure that the war of words doesn’t boil over. Nonetheless, the Jewish state and her Arab neighbors aren’t waiting around for an agreement that the Islamic regime may or may not honor.
Posted on June 28, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, June 28, 2022)
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