Iran has been accused of failing in the latest unsuccessful round of talks on reviving the NPT at a solemn UN Security Council session, which widely acknowledged that the talks – and the entire 2015 deal – had made “maximalist demands”. were on the verge of collapse.
Iranian and US officials held two-day talks in Doha with the EU as a mediator to break a months-long impasse, but no progress was made on Iran’s key demand for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be removed from US sanctions and its list foreign terrorist organizations.
“Iran not only failed to accept the offer on the table, but also added other issues outside of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] with maximalist and unrealistic demands,” said French UN Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière on Thursday.
Broader talks have stalled since March, but recent new restrictions imposed on UN weapons inspectors — as well as Iran’s acceleration of uranium enrichment — have brought a sudden urgency to the crisis. Western leaders must take decisive steps, including reimposing UN sanctions weeks from now, if nuclear regulators remain unable to fulfill their monitoring duties.
During the special session of the UN Security Council, Barbara Woodward, the British envoy, warned Iran that no better deal was being offered.
Olof Skoog, EU Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “I’m concerned that we might not make it to the finish line. My message is: seize this opportunity to close the deal based on the text on the table. The time to get past the last outstanding issues, close the deal and do the full recovery [agreement] is now.”
The context of the impasse – growing Iranian enrichment and ballistic missile activities – also worries European leaders.
Woodward warned, “Iran’s nuclear program has never been as advanced as it is today, and Iran’s nuclear escalation is a threat to international peace and security.”
“At the current rate of enrichment, Iran will likely have enough enriched material by the end of this year to rapidly produce highly enriched uranium with 90% enrichment for multiple nuclear devices,” she said. “Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles in a manner inconsistent with UN resolutions.”
In a joint statement, Germany, France and the United Kingdom claimed Iran is testing ballistic missiles designed to use nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. The statement said: “Just a few days ago, Iran conducted another test of a launch vehicle containing dual-use technology that can be used to build long-range ballistic missiles and ICBMs.”
Iran’s Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi said an agreement is “not out of reach” but success will require significant changes in US policy, particularly around the imposition of sanctions. He also said guarantees were needed that the US would not back out of the deal like it did in 2018 under Donald Trump.