Iran’s Zarif Sees EU as Rainmaker in U.S. Return to Nuclear Deal

Iran’s foreign minister urged the European Union to take a lead role in bridging differences with the U.S. over how the two countries revive the beleaguered 2015 nuclear deal.

In an interview with CNN, Mohammad Javad Zarif said top EU foreign envoy Josep Borrell could “choreograph the actions that are needed to be taken by the U.S. and the actions needed to be taken by Iran.”

The Biden administration is keen to rehabilitate the accord that Donald Trump abandoned while imposing severe sanctions on Iran’s economy in 2018. But it says Tehran should return its nuclear activity to within limits set by the landmark accord before the U.S. lifts sanctions and rejoins the agreement.

Iran has heavily criticized that position and insists it’s down to the U.S., as the party that first violated terms of the deal, to make the first move.

The stalemate raises questions over whether the crisis can be resolved before the Islamic Republic hits a deadline later this month to secure sanctions removal, or else end voluntary international nuclear inspections. Moderates in Iran are also hoping for a boost from the lifting of some sanctions ahead of presidential elections set for June.

Zarif said the Joint Commission, a mechanism set up by the original agreement, exists to settle disputes between participating countries. Borrell, in his capacity as coordinator of the commission, should take the lead and “coordinate what can be done,” the minister said.

Some of Iran’s nuclear breaches can take “less than a day” or, at most, weeks to reverse, Zarif said.

“It won’t take any longer than it would take the U.S. to implement the Executive Orders necessary” to restore Iran’s oil, banking and transportation links, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.