The United Kingdom publicly challenged Iran on December 12 to seize on a “last chance” to bring serious proposals to negotiations on a lasting solution to revive a six-year-old nuclear deal.
The appeal follows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s assurance a day earlier that Tehran is serious in the ongoing but paused talks with world powers in Vienna.
“This is the last chance for Iran to come to the negotiating table with a serious resolution to this issue, which has to be agreeing the terms of the JCPOA,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at a G7 meeting in Liverpool in reference to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action.
Washington withdrew from the controversial deal in 2018, setting off a potentially crippling series of blows to compliance and enforcement that include Tehran’s breach of the agreement.
U.S. President Joe Biden has sought a return to the JCPOA, but the order of a return to compliance and other sticking points have so far prevented a breakthrough.
“This is their last chance and it is vital that they do so,” Truss warned. “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on December 11 that “time is running out” on saving the deal.
A G7 statement from Liverpool is expected to include a call for Tehran to rein in its nuclear activities and seize the opportunity to revive the deal.
“We are serious in the negotiations and if the other side is also serious about the removal of the sanctions, we will achieve a good agreement. We are definitely after a good agreement,” the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Raisi, a hard-liner whose election as president put the talks in question, as saying on December 11.
All the deal’s remaining signatories — Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China — are taking part in the talks in the Austrian capital.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week that Washington hopes the current round of talks “proceeds differently.”
Washington was planning to send a delegation led by Robert Malley, the special U.S. envoy for Iran, to Vienna over the weekend.