EU lacks plan B as US gathers allies to talk tough with Iran

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The European Union is not thinking of a “plan B” if diplomacy with Iran fails, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Washington on Friday, contrary to a US statement that “all options “are on the table.

“It’s time to get back to the negotiating table. And I don’t want to think about plan B because no… Plan B that I could imagine would be a good one, ”Borrell said.

Iran withdrew in June from indirect talks with the United States in Vienna on both sides to return to compliance with the deal, under which Tehran limited its nuclear program in exchange for easing economic sanctions. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has so far refused to resume these negotiations.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions against Iran. Since then, Tehran has replenished its stocks of enriched uranium, refined it to higher purity levels, and installed advanced centrifuges to speed up the enrichment process.

Western diplomats said they feared Tehran’s new negotiating team – led by a president known to be a hard-line anti-Western supporter, unlike his pragmatic predecessor – might make new demands beyond the scope of this. which had already been agreed.

IRANIAN PRESIDENT Ebrahim Raisi visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant earlier this month. (credit: OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL SITE / REUTERS)

Borrell’s comment against Plan B contrasted with remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken two days earlier that the United States “will consider all options to face the challenges posed by Iran.”

Blinken, who was speaking at an event with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed marking one year since the Abraham Accords, Normalization and Peace Accords between Israel and four Arab nations, added that “We continue to believe that diplomacy is the most effective way to do it, but it takes two to engage in diplomacy, and we have not … seen anything. ‘Iran has a will to do so at this point.

The Secretary of State last week met with top diplomats from the EU, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, with Iran being the main item on the agenda.

BORRELL said “time is running out” for Iran to resume talks and for the new government of the Islamic Republic to have had sufficient time to study the matter and instruct its negotiating team.

The EU foreign policy chief said not only is Tehran obscuring the question of when they will resume indirect talks with the United States, but Iran has not even committed to a timeline for them. preliminary negotiations he asked to be held in Brussels.

“I am ready to receive them if necessary”, said Borrell, adding that he did not think that talks in Brussels were absolutely necessary but that he had to be ready to be somewhat “patient on this matter because we cannot not allow us to fail “.

EU political director Enrique Mora, chief coordinator of the talks, was in Tehran on Thursday to meet with members of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, four months after talks between Iran and world powers broke down.

After Mora’s visit, Iran’s foreign ministry said it would hold talks with the EU in Brussels in the coming days.

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russian ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog that follows nuclear talks for Moscow, suggested Iran would be better served by returning to Vienna.

“Isn’t it safer to discuss the texts with the #ViennaTalks participants?” he asked on Twitter.

French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said negotiations should resume immediately where they left off in June to quickly reach a deal.

Lapid last week in Washington called on the world to take a stand against the mullahs’ regime, which he said is “dragging its heels” to advance its nuclear program while parties to the 2015 nuclear deal wait to resume negotiations. talks.

“If a terrorist regime wants to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act. We must make it clear that the civilized world will not allow it, ”he said.

If diplomacy between world powers and Iran fails, “other options will be on the table,” Lapid said, later adding: “When we say other options, I think everyone understands here, in Israel, the Emirates and Tehran, what it means. “


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