The 8th round of Iran nuclear negotiations remains ongoing as new details emerge regarding the expected end-date for talks as well as Iran’s nuclear developments over the last several months.
Officials’ comments continue to suggest that a deal will be reached within the next few days, although that now largely depends on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi’s trip to Tehran this weekend.
European Union coordinator for the negotiations Enrique Mora tweeted, “We are at the final stages of the Vienna Talks on JCPOA. Some relevant issues are still open and success is never guaranteed in such a complex negotiation. Doing our best in the coordinator’s team. But we are definitely not there yet.”
Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted, “Vienna talks still continue. Premature good news does not substitute good agreement. Nobody can say the deal is done, until all the outstanding remaining issues are resolved. Extra efforts needed. Everybody is now focused on the final critical steps.”
The UK chief negotiator Stephanie Al-Qaq wrote, “we are very close to an agreement. All parties have negotiated constructively under the leadership of the EU Coordinator Enrique Mora. Now we have to take a few final steps.”
Speaking to reporters in Vienna, Russian Ambassador Ulyanov said, “we’re practically finished. Practically. A couple of remaining issues… We can be done within 24 hours, 48, I don’t know … At this very delicate stage of talks, any clumsy word may have negative effects.”
When asked if talks could still collapse, Ulyanov said, “I don’t think so. I cannot imagine that at this stage, the talks may collapse. It would be absolutely irresponsible, especially at this stage.”
On how the invasion of Ukraine affects the talks, Ulyanov added, “Iran and Ukraine…are existing in different dimensions”
“A new JCPOA agreement can be signed at any moment – it all depends on the Iranians. It can happen at any hour,” Israeli officials said.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is set to visit Tehran on Saturday, aiming to resolve concerns about evidence of nuclear material at Iranian facilities where inspectors suspect Iran previously conducted work on a nuclear weapon.
Iran demands that his agency close all investigations into undeclared nuclear material found in Iran.
As reported yesterday, Grossi committed that “the IAEA will never abandon a process that it launched because of the necessity of clarification of certain situations in Iran because of a political reason.”
Iran’s acting ambassador to the IAEA denied Iran would provide camera data from its nuclear facilities to the agency pending any return to the JCPOA, saying that, until that point, “relevant information [collected by the IAEA’s cameras] will not be made available to the agency and will be stored in Iran.” It is unclear which facility or facilities, specifically, Ghaebi was referencing.
Grossi spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett before travelling to Tehran and agreed to speak with him immediately after his visit.
The Wall Street Journalreported on Thursday that one major remaining issue concerns Iran’s demand that the United States remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
Reporting on a confidential IAEA report circulated only to Agency members, the Wall Street Journal stated that Iran has 33.2 kilograms of 60 percent enriched uranium as of February 19, compared to 17.7kg in November 2021. Approximately 40 kg is needed to produce, with further enrichment, enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
The IAEA report allegedly also shows that Iran installed, but has not yet begun operating, a second cascade of 166 advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordow facility.