Report: Iran leverages Ukraine war to extract nuclear deal concessions

Talks in Vienna are at a critical stage, as Iran and European powers are at the closest point ever to a deal.

By Baruch Yedid, TPS

“Iran is taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to extract concessions in Vienna over the nuclear deal,” the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported Tuesday.

The newspaper reported that talks in Vienna are at a critical stage and that the parties, Iran and the European powers, are at the closest point ever to a new agreement. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said in this regard that 97-98% of the draft clauses were co-written by the parties.

The Nur News website, which is close to the Iranian government, stated that the parties are very close to the agreement, just as they are also, on the other hand, at a dead end.

Al-Akhbar reported that Iran is demanding concessions on the extent of the sanctions to be lifted on the country and is also demanding that they be lifted from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), which has been listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Tehran is also demanding guarantees that the U.S. will not withdraw from the agreement in the future.

The U.S. has set a “deadline” for talks by the end of February but it appears the Iranians intend to draw out the negotiations further, to demonstrate a disregard for the U.S.’ position.

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It is estimated that the negotiations will continue for several more days or weeks and that its failure will increase the escalation between Iran and the West.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday that “there has been significant progress in recent days” in the talks in Vienna and that they “are at a decisive moment.”

However, he warned that time is of the essence as “Tehran’s nuclear advancements will soon render the nonproliferation benefits that the JCPOA conveyed essentially meaningless before too long.”

The U.S. is “prepared to walk away if Iran displays an intransigence to making progress,” he underscored.