Speaking in a joint news conference with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in the Austrian capital of Vienna late on Friday, Le Drian if Vienna talks continue at a slow pace and Iran continues to enrich uranium, there will be nothing left to negotiate.
Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to Europeans due to its geographical proximity, Le Drian stated.
If we do not reach an agreement in Vienna on Iran’s nuclear program, we will enter a crisis. In Vienna. We are facing two options: a quick return to an agreement with Iran or nuclear proliferation, he claimed.
This is while that EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell announced the possibility of attaining an agreement in Vienne talks.
“I still maintain the hope that it would be possible to remake this agreement and have it function as it did before the American withdrawal,” Borrell added.
Iran and the P4+1 group of countries resumed talks in Vienna last Monday after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year. The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all US sanctions. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.
During the previous round of the talks, the first under Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented new proposals at the negotiating table to help the talks move forward and later criticized the European signatories of the JCPOA for failing to follow suit and remaining passive.
The removal of sanctions and the issue of verification and guarantees that the other parties will abide by their obligations this time and the US will not reimpose the sanctions are among the most important and sensitive issues discussed between the parties in recent weeks.
Diplomats have said that there has been some progress in the talks, but there are still remaining issues such as the removal of the sanctions on Iran and its verification needed to be discussed over before Iran return to full abidance by the 2015 nuclear deal, from which the United States withdrew in May 2018 and subsequent indifference of the European parties to make up for Iran’s losses.