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US and Iran show no move to put nuclear deal back on track

UNITED NATIONS (PA) – The United Nations, the European Union and many members of the Security Council on Wednesday urged the United States and Iran to quickly postpone the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program , but neither side showed any sign of moving towards an agreement.

In six rounds of talks in Vienna, the six countries that remain parties to the deal – Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran – have attempted to resolve key issues pending on how the United States can reach the country. Then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, but President Joe Biden repudiated his predecessor and said the United States wanted to return to the pact.

After the final talks in Vienna on June 20, the EU official who coordinated the meeting, Enrique Mora, told reporters: “We are closer to an agreement, but we are not.” Senior Russian Representative Mikhail Ukyanov said “the time has come for political decisions” ahead of what is supposed to be a final round of negotiations.

But at the Security Council on Wednesday, Iranian and US diplomats took firm positions, leaving no trace of compromise at a meeting on the implementation of the 2015 Council resolution that approved the nuclear deal.

The 2015 deal aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies is seeking. Under its terms, the UN sanctions that severely affected the economy of the oil-rich country were lifted, but Trump reimposed those sanctions unilaterally and added more severe ones when the United States withdrew from the government. pact.

Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi has strongly criticized the continued impact of US sanctions, saying they are also affecting the country’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nothing has changed except the verbal declaration of the United States of its intention to return to the respect” of the agreement, he told the council. “In fact, until this very moment, the policy of maximum pressure and the draconian sanctions against our people remain.”

He said Iran had paid “a heavy price” to preserve the deal and would remain committed to it “as long as the other parties end, completely and without any preconditions or further delay, their policies of intimidation”.

Ravanchi said “it is high time” the United States and the three European parties to the agreement made “difficult decisions” to return to full compliance.

US Deputy Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis told Council members that “the latest rounds of talks in Vienna have helped crystallize the choices that need to be made by Iran and the United States to achieve a mutual return to peace. conformity”.

“The United States is determined to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon, and we believe that diplomacy, in coordination with our regional allies and partners, is the best way to achieve this goal,” did he declare.

But DeLaurentis said recent reports from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the International Atomic Energy Agency make it clear that Iran is stepping up its nuclear program beyond the limits of the deal, at the same time. both in number and types of centrifuges, in quantities and levels of uranium enrichment up to 60%. , and the production of uranium metal.

“We urge Iran to refrain from further escalation and return to full implementation” of the provisions of the agreement, “including those related to verification, monitoring and enforcement. implementation of the additional protocol by the IAEA, ”DeLaurentis said.

Ravanchi said all of Iran’s measures are allowed under the deal because the US violated the deal, and reiterated that they are reversible.

A key provision of the 2015 Security Council resolution approving the deal calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons” – but it does not explicitly require that Tehran does.

Iran launched ballistic missiles and tested a space vehicle earlier this year, prompting complaints from US-backed France, Britain, Germany and Israel. . But Russia and Iran insisted they had not violated the deal.

UN political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council diplomatic efforts in Vienna “presented a critical opportunity” for the United States and Iran to fully return to the deal.

She echoed Guterres’ call for the United States to lift or lift sanctions and extend oil trade waivers with Iran. She called on Iran to refrain from any further escalation, return to full implementation of the deal and resume an agreement with the IAEA to monitor and verify its nuclear activities which expired on June 24.

Calling it a “defining moment,” DiCarlo said it was “essential that all parties seize this opportunity” to get the deal back on track.

EU Ambassador Olof Skoog warned that “what is still possible today may turn out to be impossible in the near future”.

“We have a limited diplomatic window before us that we must not miss,” he told the council.

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