The head of EU foreign policy said on Sunday (June 20) that after the tough Iranian presidential election, Iran and world powers can still reach an agreement to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement, but time is running out.
Josep Borrell stated that an agreement is “very close” to make the Middle East safer and comfort the millions of Iranians who have been hit by the oil and financial sanctions that the United States reimposed when the agreement withdrew three years ago.
“We are running out of time in these negotiations,” Borrell told a group of reporters in Beirut.
“We have invested a lot of political capital… so I hope that the election results will not become the last obstacle to disrupt the negotiation process,” he said. “As far as I know… it won’t be like this.”
In the presidential election in Iran on Friday, Ebrahim Raisi replaced the pragmatist Hassan Rouhani in August. But the final decision on the policy lies with the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which shows the continuity of Iran’s prospects.
The EU envoy said that Iran and the six world powers adjourned their meetings in Vienna on Sunday to allow consultations in their respective capitals. The head of the Iranian delegation earlier pointed out that the talks would be adjourned and said that the remaining differences could not be easily overcome.
The European Union is also a party in negotiations between Iran and the world’s powers: the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
Borel met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Turkey on Friday, and he said he remains optimistic.
Zarif said that the text being discussed in the nuclear negotiations is becoming “cleaner” or closer to reaching an agreement, and an agreement may be reached before the new Lai Xi government takes office.
He said on Saturday at a diplomatic forum in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya: “We should leave in mid-August. I think we are likely to reach an agreement before mid-August.”
“I don’t think (the remaining problems) are insurmountable.”
Zarif described Lacey as a reasonable person and said that “I think Iran’s foreign policy based on consensus will continue.”
Like Khamenei, Raisi supports nuclear negotiations as a way to lift US sanctions, which have disrupted the oil economy of the Islamic Republic, sharply worsened economic difficulties, and aroused widespread dissatisfaction.
In 2018, former U.S. President Donald Trump asked Washington to withdraw from the agreement, which was designed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of multiple international sanctions against Tehran. President Joe Biden tried to restore the agreement.
Borel said an agreement “can make the world, especially the Middle East, safer, and (put) the Iranian people in a better position.”