The Cradle
EU seeks to end current hiatus on Iran sanctions removal talks
The talks were on hold indefinitely in March after the US seized several Iranian oil ships
By News Desk - May 08 2022
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Josep Borrell (Photo credit: Anadolu News Agency)

Several EU officials are seeking to break the ongoing hiatus on the Vienna talks in order to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, according to a 7 May report from Reuters.

The Iran nuclear negotiations coordinator for the EU, Enrique Mora, is scheduled to visit Tehran on 10 May to push for breaking the deadlock.

The deadlock began on 11 March after the US seized several Iranian oil ships and the Iranian team left Vienna in protest. The talks have not been revived since.

Washington’s ongoing refusal to remove the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization is another obstacle to progress on the negotiations.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is reportedly seeking a middle way, according to comments he made to the Financial Times. His compromise involves removing the IRGC from the sanctions and terrorism lists, but keeping IRGC sub-organizations that are of concern to the US on the various blacklists.

However, such a move may not be enough for Iranian negotiators. In a recent phone call with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stressed that the only way forward on these negotiations is for the US to make realistic and brave decisions in order to rectify its past mistakes.

Borrell has said that he seeks a discussion on the issue of a compromise on the IRGC blacklisting with Mora, but added that Iran is “very much reluctant” to make such a compromise.

Washington has also demanded that, in the event of a possible removal of the IRGC from the terrorism blacklist, Iran, in turn, has to end its stated will to avenge the assassination of IRGC General Qassem Soleimani. Tehran has firmly rejected this demand.

“They constantly send messages saying they will offer rewards and remove certain sanctions if we give up seeking revenge for Soleimani,” IRGC Navy Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri said on 21 April. “But that is wishful thinking.”