U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted Friday that Iran’s latest proposal in the framework of the negotiation to restore the nuclear deal “takes steps backwards” in returning to the pact.
“We are not willing to accept an agreement that does not meet our basic requirements and continually tries to introduce extraneous demands that are not relevant to the agreement itself,” Blinken said when asked at a press conference at NATO headquarters.
Without wanting to reveal more details, the head of U.S. diplomacy has assured that positions had been brought closer in recent weeks with Tehran, but the most recent response to the final document proposed by the European Union, which is acting as mediator, means taking “steps backwards.”
Blinken has signaled that Washington will only reach an agreement if the terms mean an improvement for U.S. national security. “The president (Joe Biden) is focused on that, and what we’re seeing again is that we’re only taking steps backward and not forward,” he lamented.
The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, already warned Monday that Iran’s latest demand does not help culminate the talks and in fact puts the process “in jeopardy.”
As he explained, the conditions demanded by Iran are entailing a “divergence” in the positions of the negotiations. “The positions are further apart, this is worrying and the whole process is in danger,” he said. Tehran is now asking for more guarantees and the closure of the investigation of its nuclear activity to confirm its compliance with the 2015 agreement.
The EU-sponsored diplomatic process seeks to restore an agreement that, despite remaining in force, is badly damaged after the United States unilaterally withdrew during Donald Trump’s tenure, and Iran breached agreed limits on its nuclear activity.
For the EU, the proposal put on the table by Borrell a month ago is a final document that the participants of the nuclear deal must subscribe to or reject, following a 16-month process of talks, mainly in Vienna, to get the United States to return to the Iranian nuclear deal.