Dubai United Arab Emirates — Diplomats said talks on reviving the shattered nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers in Vienna ended on Monday after the parties finalized the final text and lead negotiators prepared to consult their capitals.
After 16 months of intermittent indirect negotiations to restore the agreement, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, indicated that there was no longer room for negotiation on the draft now on the table.
He noted that the final decision on whether to restore the most important nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of the past quarter century rests with the Iranian and US governments. The 2015 nuclear deal granted Iran sanctions relief in return for tighter restrictions on its nuclear programme.
“What can be negotiated has been negotiated and is now in a final text,” Borrell wrote on Twitter. “However, behind every technical question and every paragraph lies a political decision to be made in the capitals.”
The main challenges of concluding the deal remain. European officials urged Iran over the weekend to drop its “unrealistic demands” outside the scope of the original agreement, including the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation into the country’s undeclared nuclear material.
The Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani will soon return to Tehran for political consultations. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei chairs the summit of Iran’s theocracy, who will have the last word on any agreement.
The United States, which abandoned the original nuclear deal four years ago under former President Donald Trump, described the proposed draft as “the best and only basis on which an agreement can be reached.”
“For our part, our position is clear: we are ready to quickly conclude a deal based on the proposals of the European Union,” the Foreign Ministry said, noting that restoring the agreement is up to Iran.
The spokesman added: “They (Iran) say repeatedly that they are ready to return to mutual implementation.” “Let’s see if their actions match their words.”
For its part, Iran appeared cautious, raising doubts about the chances of a breakthrough after months of deadlock.
“It is natural that the cases require a comprehensive study,” the official IRNA news agency quoted a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official as saying. “We will convey our views and complementary points.”
But Western diplomats have warned that time is running out with Iran’s nuclear program advancing rapidly under waning international oversight. They are also worried about the approaching mid-term electionIn the United States it can empower Republicans who oppose the agreement.
It was not clear how long political consultations on the draft text would continue.
But Borrell said, “If those answers are positive, we can sign this deal.”
Associated Press contributing writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Iran and Elaine Knekmeyer in Washington.