EU: Stalled Iran nuclear talks ‘reopened’: EU

Stalled talks over Iran’s nuclear program have been unblocked after fresh talks in Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday, adding he believed a final deal was within reach. .

Borrell said a mission by EU envoy Enrique Mora this week to help revive the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers had gone “better than expected”.

“The negotiations were at a standstill and now they have been reopened,” Borrell told reporters on the sidelines of a G7 meeting in Germany.

“There is a prospect of reaching a final agreement.”

Mora held two days of meetings with Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri in Tehran this week.

Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, meanwhile met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday to push things forward.

The 2015 deal gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program to ensure it could not develop a nuclear weapon, something Tehran has always denied it wants to do.

Officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal was left alive in 2018 by then-US President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to step down and impose punitive sanctions.

This prompted Iran to start backtracking on its own commitments.

Trump’s departure from office reignited attempts to revive the deal, with Mora playing a key role during a year of on-and-off talks in Vienna.

One of the main sticking points in the negotiations was Tehran’s demand for the United States to remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a designated list of terrorist groups.

Borrell said “these disagreements over what to do with the Revolutionary Guards” had hampered progress in the talks for two months.

He said Mora conveyed the EU’s message to Tehran “that we cannot continue like this”.

“The response has been pretty positive,” Borrell said.

“These kinds of things can’t be solved overnight. Let’s say things were blocked and they were unblocked.”

Borrell declined to comment on Mora’s tweet that he was briefly detained at Frankfurt airport by German police, saying only “issue resolved.”

Mora had tweeted earlier on Friday that he had been “restrained by German police” on his way back to Brussels.

“Not a single explanation. An EU official on official mission holding a Spanish diplomatic passport,” he wrote.

After being released, he tweeted that he had still not received “an explanation for what appears to be a violation of the Vienna Convention”.

There was no immediate comment from German police.

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