US, EU Attempts to Lure Iran Back to Nuclear Talks Not Promising

A senior EU official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said on Sunday that Tehran’s new hardline administration is not yet ready to engage in Vienna after the delicate EU mission to Iran failed to secure this week Iran’s commitment to resume negotiations over reviving the almost failed nuclear deal, Politico writes.

Since the Iranian hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi has been elected president in June, the nuclear talks have been stalled despite Tehran’s reiterating it was ready to resume them soon, which is leaving observers increasingly pessimistic.

Yet, Iran is committed to meet with EU officials in Brussels in the coming weeks to discuss details of the last round of talks in in Vienna in June, something the senior EU official agrees with in order to clarify with the new Iranian delegation different questions that they might have.

The chief EU coordinator for the Iran nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, flew to Tehran on Thursday to meet Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani in an effort to jumpstart the process while US State Secretary Antony Blinken, in addition to Mora’s diplomatic push in Tehran, held a series of meetings in Washington this week with Iran at the top of the agenda.

Blinken met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday in Washington as well as with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

After meeting with Lapid, Blinken stressed they’re getting to a point at which returning to compliance with the JCPOA will not recapture the benefits of the deal because Iran has been using this time to advance its nuclear program.

Underscoring the depth of concern, he also suggested the US will not rule out a military option if Iran doesn’t change course.

According to Ali Vaez, senior advisor and Iran project director at the International Crisis Group, Iran will eventually come back to negotiations since it does not want to be seen as the inflexible party at fault in the eyes of Russia and China.

Vaez underscored that all parties need to take a fresh approach and show flexibility on the other side’s top requirements, but noted that deadlock is guaranteed if Tehran comes to Vienna with new and bolder redlines.

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