Revised version- Iran’s foreign ministry quickly rebutted a report Wednesday that Tehran-Washington nuclear talks in Qatar had ended without agreement.
The official news agency IRNA also weighed in, saying meetings were continuing and would end as planned today. It criticized un-named media for suggesting the negotiations had failed.
The talks at the Intercontinental hotel, Doha, were announced at the weekend and had been expected to last two to three days. It not clear whether there might be a further round. Tehran and Washington have yet to comment on how the talks have progressed, or what they expect next.
The meetings in Qatar have been coordinated by Enrique Mora, the senior European Union official who chaired the Vienna talks between Iran and six world powers aimed at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which paused without agreement in March.
Mora has acted in Doha as a go-between in what EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell dubbed ‘proximity talks,’ a format required by Iran’s refusal to talk face-to-face. Mora met Tuesday with Ali Bagheri-Kani, the deputy foreign minister leading the Iranian team, and separately with Robert Malley, the White House special envoy for Iran.
In citing an “informed source” that the talks had failed, Tasnim, which is affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, blamed US intransigence. “What prevented the talks reaching a positive result” was the US failure to offer “assurances over Iran’s economic benefits from a deal,” which for Iran were “red lines.”
Tasnim said US negotiators had insisted on a draft American text presented in the seventh round of discussions – back in December 2021 – in the year-long Vienna talks.
The agency’s report made no reference to the US listing of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’ Tehran’s demand for revoking the listing, made by President Donald Trump in 2019, was reportedly a central, unresolved issue in the stalling of the Vienna talks.
Attempts in the Vienna process to revive the 2015 deal (the JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) struggled to agree on which US sanctions introduced since Washington left the nuclear agreement in 2018 violate the JCPOA, which offered Iran access to world markets without “discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions.”
Tasnim criticized US President Joe Biden for “weakness and inability to make the decision that a restored JCPOA needs only US acceptance of Iran’s red lines over economic benefits.” The agency claimed Mora had criticized the US over the stance it was taking.