Qatar is more likely to be the site of talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, a website close to Iran’s Security Council said on Sunday.
Nour News, generally reflecting the views of Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani, said“Given Qatar’s continued efforts to help reinvigorate talks for the lifting of US sanctions, Doha’s chances of hosting the upcoming talks are higher than those of other Persian Gulf countries.”
A two-day visit by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to Tehran appears to have been successful on Saturday in convincing Iran to hold talks with the United States to resolve remaining differences that have stalled a agreement to revive the JCPOA.
The key factor that prevented a deal in Vienna in March, when year-long talks broke down, was Iran’s demand to remove its Revolutionary Guards from the US terrorist list.
There is no official word yet from Washington, whether the Biden administration agrees to a formula to hold talks with Iran apparently outside the framework of the JCPOA. What Borrell appears to have agreed with Iran would likely exclude Russia and China, two of the original JCPOA signatories, from this round of talks.
Washington may be waiting for a briefing from Borrell to see the details of its talks with the Iranians, but some coordination must have taken place before the EU foreign policy chief flew to Tehran on Friday.
US special envoy for Iran and chief nuclear negotiator Rob Malley was in Brussels ahead of Borrell’s trip and tweeted Thursday [June23] showed him having dinner with Borrell and his assistant Enrique Mora.
Al Jazeera also reported on Sunday that, according to an Iranian official, Qatar has the best chance of hosting the new talks.
Israeli Channel 12 television quoted a security official said Israel opposed the prospect of reviving the JCPOA in the near future. The source said restoring the 2015 deal to its current form would be “very bad” for Israel.
Israel says the JCPOA sunset clauses would expire in a few years and Iran would be free to expand its nuclear program and build atomic weapons. The deal was weak from the start when the Obama administration brokered it, Israel has consistently backed and backed President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal in 2018.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, while less vocal publicly, are also alarmed not only by Iran’s nuclear program but also by its aggressive regional behavior in arming and supporting militant groups.
Washington is said to be working to lead a regional alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to contain Iran. Israeli officials said this week that work was underway to establish a joint air defense system between those countries, led by the United States.
Iranian Shamkhani told Borrell that Iran would further develop its nuclear program until the West changes its “illegal behavior”.
“Iran’s retaliatory actions in the nuclear sector are only legal and rational responses to US unilateralism and European inaction and will continue until the West’s illegal practices change,” he said. Shamkhani said, without giving further details.
And despite the imminent resumption of talks, Borrell appeared to play down the possibility of a quick deal.
“I can’t predict… We’re pushing for this. I appreciate the goodwill on the Iranian side. There’s also goodwill on the American side,” Borrell told a news conference on a website. EU internet.