According to Reuters, France announced on Wednesday that a decision on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was only days away, and it was now up to Tehran to make the political choice. On Thursday, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian told Ma’ariv that the announcement of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the United States that has been reached in the Vienna talks is expected next week (שר החוץ הצרפתי למעריב: הסכם עם איראן – בשבוע הבא).
Le Drian said the rank of the signatories to the agreement and the “choreography” of the signing event has not yet been determined. He also warned Iran against trying to blow up the agreement at the last minute by raising new demands and causing a severe international crisis.
Iran’s lead negotiator, Ali Baqeri, on Thursday, tweeted that the time has come for the parties in the Vienna talks to “make their serious decisions.”
“After weeks of intensive talks, we are closer than ever to an agreement; nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, though,” Baqeri tweeted. “Our negotiating partners need to be realistic, avoid intransigence and heed the lessons of the past four years. It’s time for their serious decisions.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian raised a new demand in an interview to The Financial Times: a commitment and a declaration by the parliaments of the signatory states, especially the US Congress, that the United States will not withdraw from the agreement in the future. All the US was offering so far was a personal commitment by President Joe Biden.
The Iranians eventually agreed to drop the demand for a sweeping parliamentary declaration of commitment, in exchange for an agreement allowing them to enrich uranium at 60%—very weapons-grade—should the US pull out again.
Meanwhile, 200 Republican lawmakers promised in a letter to Beiden to oppose any agreement that would lift US sanctions on Iran, unless the Iranian regime announces the start of dismantling its enrichment program. There are bound to be Democrats who would join the resistance to the deal.
Le Drian and his European counterparts will meet for coordination and clarification talks with Abdullahian during the Munich Security Conference, February 18-20. It is unclear whether the Iranian minister will meet in Munich with either Secretary of State Anthony Blinken or Vice President Kamala Harris, who will both attend the conference.
According to Reuters, the first phase of the deal will see the thawing of Iranian assets worth $7 billion, which were frozen in South Korea, while Iran will release Western prisoners from Iranian prison. Sanctions on the oil industry will not be lifted, and Iran will freeze—but not remove—all uranium enrichment above 5%.