US affirms ‘gaps remain’ for reviving Iran nuclear accord
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – The State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson, Vedant Patel, briefing journalists on Tuesday, confirmed the pessimistic view of prospects for renewing the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, as expressed the previous day by the European Union’s (EU) foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell .
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Asked about Borrell’s statement that “the whole [JCPOA] process [is] in danger,” Patel essentially confirmed that view.
“To reiterate what the administration said at the tail-end of last week,” Patel replied, the Iranian response to what was supposed to be Borrell’s “final text” for renewing the JCPOA “did not put us in a position to close the deal.”
“We’ve consistently said that gaps remain,” Patel continued, “and it’s clear from Iran’s response that these gaps still remain.”
Thus, it seems, that despite the expectations of many, there will be no imminent revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and which Donald Trump left in 2018.
Josep Borrell’s ‘Misplaced Optimism’
EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, and Spain’s Minister of Public Works and the Environment for much of the 1990s, played a central role in generating that optimism.
Perhaps, Borell simply misunderstood the situation. However, it seems more likely that his optimism served as a pressure tactic: we’re almost there, just a few concessions from the US and a few from Iran, and we’ll cinch the deal!
If so, then the maneuver backfired. It contributed to a decision earlier this month made by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to mend ties with Tehran, before sanctions were lifted on Iran, when it would become a significantly more powerful forces.
In addition, the oil producing group, OPEC Plus, announced on Sunday that it was cutting back its recent production increase of 100,000 barrels/day, in part because of the expectation that Iranian oil will soon be on the market.
“Borrell’s misplaced optimism on the Iran deal is yet another proximate cause, reinforcing the default hedging strategy of many US partners in the Persian Gulf,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, advised Kurdistan 24.
Renewing the JCPOA was a top priority of the Biden administration, as it assumed office in Jan. 2021. Negotiations began in Vienna in April, with the EU acting as intermediary. However, nearly a year and a half later, the talks have produced no result.