Borrell: Pause needed in Iran nuke talks

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Josep Borrell, the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, said that a pause is needed in the talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), citing “external factors”…reports Asian Lite News

“I will, with my team, continue to be in touch with all JCPOA participants and the US to overcome the current situation and to close the agreement,” he said on Twitter, while noting that a final text of an agreement is “essentially ready and on the table”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Borrell did not give further details on when will the negotiations reconvene.

Following Borrell’s remarks, Enrique Mora, the EU coordinator in the Vienna talks, said that the negotiators are “almost there” on reaching a deal and “have a text in which almost everything is done”.

Mora said both Iran and the US have taken a very constructive and positive approach in the negotiations.

“In order to keep this good spirit and atmosphere, it’s better to pause,” he said, adding that he hopes the talks could resume “very soon”.

The sudden suspension of the Vienna talks came as participants of the negotiations revealed in recent days they were closing in on an agreement despite a few outstanding issues.

Mora on Monday called on the participants to make a political decision “in the next few days” to end the negotiations.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday that Washington was “close to a possible deal” that could even be reached “in the coming days”.

Price added that “it’s really down to a very small number of outstanding issues”, but they are “among the most difficult ones”.

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However, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has slammed the US approach to the Vienna talks, claiming that the absence of a political decision by Washington has complicated the negotiations.

In 2015, Iran signed the JCPOA with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, Britain and the US, plus Germany) and the EU.

However, former US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the pact in May 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

This prompted Iran to drop some of its nuclear commitments and advance its previously halted nuclear programs.

Since April 2021, Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties have held eight rounds of marathon talks in Vienna to restore the deal.