Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022 - 17 of Shevat, 5782

Nuclear talks with Iran to resume on Monday in Vienna

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‘’Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides,’’ ther EU’s External Service said. The EU is coordinating the talks.

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are to resume Monday in Vienna. The talks are held in the framework of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal.

The Joint Commission will be chaired, on behalf of EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, by the European External Action Service Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora. It will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran.

‘’Participants will continue the discussions on the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the JCPOA and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides,’’ ther EU’s External Service said.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal in 2018 in favor of reimposing sanctions on the Iranian regime.

This will bet the eighth round of talks between Iran and world powers on reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.

“Vienna talks to resume on Monday 27 December. The JCPOA Joint Commission will meet to discuss and define the way ahead. Important to pick up the pace on key outstanding issues and move forward, working closely with the US. Welcome to the 8th round,” Mora wrote on Twitter.

Senior US officials have recently indicated that time is running out for a deal to be hashed out, with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying during a visit to Israel earlier this week that a deadline for reaching an agreement will be set “in a few weeks.”

Sullivan said there was “still room for a diplomatic effort” to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, but the timeframe for results was “not long.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has repeatedly expressed his frustrations at the approach of the Iranian delegation to the nuclear talks. He stressed that the time is getting “very short” to return to the deal.

Talks resumed on November 29 after a pause of five months following the election in June of Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline conservative, as president of Iran. . Since then, the talks have been perpetually close to collapsing, with Iran’s new regime making fresh demands and restricting access to its nuclear facilities.

Iran and the U.S. are not holding direct negotiations but European diplomats are acting as go-betweens.

According to a report in Politico.eu, negotiators agreed this time to return to the text from before Iranian presidential election disrupted discussions, with slight amendments.

“We have now a text that with some minor exceptions is a common ground for negotiations,” said Enrique Mora.

Israeli officials have been concerned over the possibility that the US might settle for a partial “less for less” agreement with Iran in exchange for the removal of sanctions, while leaving in place the nuclear advancements Iran has made over the past year.

American and Israeli officials met earlier this month in Washington, reportedly in part to discuss the potential for cooperating on military exercises to prepare for a potential strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The New York Times reported last week that the White House has reviewed military options to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The Israeli leadership increasingly believes that applying heavy pressure on Tehran is the only way to stop the Iranian advance toward nuclear weapons.

Sima Shine — head of the Iran program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) think tank as well as former head of the research and evaluation division at the Mossad — said that Israel is faced with three main issues today with regard to Iran. The first and most prominent is the nuclear program. The second is the fact that Iran is close to Israel’s borders in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. The third, involves cyberattacks carried out by Iran against Israeli infrastructure and civilian entities.

“The nuclear threat is the only strategic – some would say existential – threat that Israel faces,” Shine said. “Bottom line, Iran is closer to the decision if they decide to enrich to military grade.”

“The closer Iran gets to a nuclear weapon, the more temptation there is to get there,” she added.

Addressing the talks in Vienna, Shine said that all available scenarios for Israel are unappealing.

“The less bad scenario would be if Iran rolls back its program to give Israel and the U.S. more time to prepare for the future,” she said. “In Iran there is no appetite for going back. The worst would be if the talks fail and Iran heads towards further enrichment.”

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