EU humiliated in Iran talks as bloc’s ‘little leverage’ exposed despite nuclear bomb fears

Iran carries out annual military exercises

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It comes after EU negotiators and Iran diplomats met yesterday for the first day of talks hosted in Vienna this week. While Enrique Mora, the EU official chairing the talks, said he feels “positive” about what he heard in talks on Monday, Dr Neil Quilliam from Chatham House seems sceptical. He told Express.co.uk that the EU has “very little leverage” in its attempt to revive the 2015 deal, where Iran limited its uranium enrichment programme in return for a lifting of crippling economic sanctions from the US, EU and UN. economic sanctions.

But when the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) was abandoned in 2018 after Donald Trump pulled out, fears that Iran has restarted its nuclear weapons programme and are even “one to three months” away from having nuclear weapons has left the EU scrambling to revive the deal.

Dr Quilliam told Express.co.uk: “I’m not particularly optimistic or hopeful that there will be any major or significant breakthroughs.

“This is the seventh round of talks and they have been on hold since June.”

“I’m not sure they can make matters worse or better, this is more about the US and Iran.”

“They have very little leverage over this, to be honest.

“They try to be a bridge between the US and Iran and that hasn’t had much success clearly, so I don’t see them as having a major role to play.”

And while the EU was tipped to struggle to make a dent in negotiations, Dr Quilliam warned that Iran is close to being able to enrich uranium to weapons-grade.

He told Express.co.uk: “Whether they are one month off or three months off, it seems like that is the direction they are going and most analysis say they are close to a breakout position.”

A breakout refers to when a state achieves nuclear weapons capability before it can be stopped by diplomatic pressure or military action.

This comes after a former head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, admitted Iran has a “system” with military capabilities in an interview with Iranian state media.

And Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s Military Intelligence warned on Friday Tehran will be just “two months away” from a nuclear bomb under a renewed nuclear deal.

Mr Yadlin claimed: “What happened in 2018, the Iranians advanced toward a bomb… they continued with their enrichment… to 60 percent.

“They have today three tons of enriched uranium, and most dangerously, they developed advanced nuclear centrifuges.

“Now, even if we return to the 2015 agreement, it’s not the same agreement.

“It doesn’t keep Iran a year away from a bomb, rather only two months from a bomb.

“And that is what is the most serious, that when the Iranians moved down this path, neither Trump nor Israel prepared a plan for how to stop them.”

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Kambiz Foroohar, former chief political strategist at Medley Global Advisors, said: “If Iran continues to enrich uranium up to 60 percent and incorporates more advanced centrifuges, it brings the timeline down to weeks, which is a very dangerous situation.

“How the Iranians respond to negotiations can make life tougher for them. If Iran is being belligerent in its demands, it might finally give the Europeans –and for that matter, the Americans – the cover they think they need to tow a harder line.”

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