Europe urges Iran to revive nuclear deal

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BERLIN – Western European powers are urging Iran to agree to a revival of its 2015 nuclear deal after months of a stalemate in negotiations, warning that what is now on the table is “the best deal possible”. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, who has chaired long-standing talks in Vienna, tweeted on Wednesday that “now is the time to decide whether we want to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said a return to full compliance with the deal “is still possible, but that requires a positive response from Iran as soon as possible”. This reflects growing concerns that time is running out to salvage the deal, in part because of the upcoming midterm elections in the United States.

Iran and six world powers — the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China — agreed to the 2015 nuclear deal that stipulated that Tehran drastically curtailed its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. In 2018, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the agreement.

Since the deal’s de facto collapse, Iran has been operating advanced centrifuges and rapidly expanding its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Talks in Vienna over reviving the deal and bringing the US back on board have stalled since April. Talks in Qatar last month made no significant progress.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell noted that he wrote an opinion piece for the Financial Times on Tuesday saying he had “concluded that the scope for further significant compromises has been exhausted”. He said he had tabled a text detailing the steps needed to restore the nuclear deal.

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