May 11, 2022 - World

EU mediator in Tehran for last-ditch effort to save Iran nuclear deal

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh holds a press conference in Tehran on May 9. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh holds a press conference in Tehran on May 9. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Enrique Mora, the EU mediator in the indirect nuclear talks between the U.S. and Iran, met with Iranian chief negotiator Ali Bagheri in Tehran on Wednesday in an effort to salvage a possible nuclear deal.

Why it matters: It's Mora’s second trip to Tehran since a “pause” in the Vienna nuclear talks was announced eight weeks ago.

  • Mora is making a last-ditch effort to find a way to solve the disagreement over Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the U.S. terror blacklist so that the parties can move toward signing a nuclear deal.

The big picture: The Biden administration, its European allies and Israel have expressed concerns that Iran will continue to advance its nuclear program while the talks are stalled.

Driving the news: Mora coordinated his trip with the Biden administration and the E3 — France, the U.K. and Germany.

  • Biden administration officials said they haven’t given Mora any new U.S. proposals to the Iranians.
  • The U.S. still refuses to remove the IRGC from the terrorism blacklist unless Iran agrees to give concessions on issues outside its nuclear program, including its regional activity.
  • A senior U.S. official told me the Biden administration hopes the Iranians would agree to give up on their demand regarding the IRGC and sign the draft deal achieved in Vienna.

Worth noting: Shortly before the meeting between Mora and Bagheri, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence announced the arrest of two European nationals for “organizing chaos, social disorder and destabilizing society” in the country.

What’s next: Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is expected to visit Tehran in the coming days and meet President Ebrahim Raisi to discuss ways to move past the current impasse and reach a deal.

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