European Source to Asharq Al-Awsat: Revival of 2015 Nuclear Deal ‘No Longer Possible’

Grossi speaks during a press conference in Vienna, on Monday (EPA)
Grossi speaks during a press conference in Vienna, on Monday (EPA)
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European Source to Asharq Al-Awsat: Revival of 2015 Nuclear Deal ‘No Longer Possible’

Grossi speaks during a press conference in Vienna, on Monday (EPA)
Grossi speaks during a press conference in Vienna, on Monday (EPA)

The Secretary-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, did not succeed at calming the fears of Western countries about the continued progress of Iran’s nuclear program, although he has informed the Board of Governors, during its quarterly meeting held this week in Vienna, about some progress in the dealings with Iran.

Western countries have conveyed their concerns to the council, pointing to the increasing risk of a nuclear proliferation crisis in the Middle East as a result of Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, a senior European diplomat said that Iran constituted a major problem due to its escalation on more than one side, as Tehran revealed that it had tested a hypersonic ballistic missile on Tuesday morning.

The diplomat, who is well-informed of the course of the nuclear negotiations, concluded that returning to the agreement in the form that was proposed a year ago was “no longer possible” due to “the change of facts” since then. He stressed that any nuclear deal “must be negotiated from the outset.”

Nuclear negotiations with Iran stopped almost completely 9 months ago with the eruption of the protests across the country and Tehran’s suppressive policies. Western countries also affirmed that any negotiation to return to the agreement was not possible, in light of Iran’s support for Russia in its war with Ukraine.

Nonetheless, Washington has recently opened new channels of communication with Tehran, including a mediation by the Sultanate of Oman. US reports revealed two weeks ago that high-ranking US officials had visited Muscat for consultations on Iran.

Oman had played a pivotal role in negotiations between the Americans and the Iranians in the track that led to the 2015 nuclear deal.

However, two European diplomatic sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Omani mediation was related to issues outside the nuclear agreement. One of the diplomats said that the Americans have “other outstanding issues” that they are discussing with Tehran through Omani officials.

The IAEA Board of Governors continued on Wednesday its discussions over Grossi’s report on the investigation into secret nuclear sites in Iran. Although the ambassadors of Western countries accepted the report, they warned Iran against its continued lack of cooperation.

US Ambassador Laura Holgate told the Board of Governors: “After three years of engagement by the Agency and repeated Iranian delays, Iran has at long last provided a possible explanation for the presence of uranium particles detected at one of these undeclared locations, called Marivan, such that the Director General reports that questions about that site are considered no longer outstanding at this stage.”

Iran had informed the agency that the traces of enriched uranium found by inspectors at the Marivan site belong to a mine and a factory that was run by the Soviet Union.

The US ambassador added: “While the report characterizes Iran’s explanation as possible, Iran has not provided any evidence to support this explanation... The Agency now says it has no further questions related to two of the four sites at this stage, but this does not constitute “closure” of these files, as some have inaccurately claimed.”

 



Foreign Leaders React to Biden Ending Reelection Campaign

 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
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Foreign Leaders React to Biden Ending Reelection Campaign

 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks at a Chief of the Defense Staff change of command ceremony between Gen. Wayne Eyre and Gen. Jennie Carignan at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, on Thursday, July 18, 2024. (The Canadian Press via AP)

Following are some reactions from foreign leaders and officials to US President Joe Biden's decision on Sunday to end his campaign to seek reelection in November:

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

"I’ve known President Biden for years. He’s a great man, and everything he does is guided by his love for his country. As President, he is a partner to Canadians — and a true friend. To President Biden and the First Lady: thank you."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR OLAF SCHOLZ, ON X

"Joe Biden has achieved a great deal: for his country, for Europe, for the world. Thanks to him, transatlantic cooperation is close, NATO is strong and the USA is a good and reliable partner for us. His decision not to run again deserves recognition."

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER KEIR STARMER:

"I respect President Biden's decision and I look forward to us working together during the remainder of his presidency," Starmer said in a statement.

"I know that, as he has done throughout his remarkable career, President Biden will have made his decision based on what he believes is in the best interests of the American people."

ISRAELI MINISTER OF DEFENSE YOAV GALLANT

"Thank you President Joe Biden, for your unwavering support of Israel over the years. Your steadfast backing, especially during the war, has been invaluable. We are grateful for your leadership and friendship."

SPANISH PRIME MINISTER PEDRO SANCHEZ ON X:

"All my admiration and recognition for the brave and dignified decision of the president @JoeBiden. Thanks to its determination and leadership, the US overcame the economic crisis after the pandemic and the serious assault on the Capitol and has been exemplary in its support for Ukraine in the face of Putin's Russian aggression. A great gesture from a great president who has always fought for democracy and freedom."

IRISH PRIME MINISTER SIMON HARRIS:

"On behalf of the people and government of Ireland. I ... would like to thank you Mr President for your global leadership and your friendship as you make your announcement that you will not stand in the 2024 US Presidential election," Harris said in a statement.

"Joe Biden, in all the offices he has held, has always been an unwavering voice and passionate worker for peace on the island of Ireland and our country owes him a great debt for this."

KREMLIN SPOKESMAN DMITRY PESKOV, SPEAKING TO SHOT NEWS OUTLET:

"The elections are still four months away, and that is a long period of time in which a lot can change. We need to be patient and carefully monitor what happens. The priority for us is the special military operation," Peskov said, referring to the war in Ukraine.

NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER JONAS GAHR STOERE:

"I respect President Joe Biden's decision not to run for re-election. He justifies the decision by saying that he wants to put the country before himself. That reasoning commands respect," Stoere said in a statement to Reuters.

"Joe Biden has been one of America's most prominent politicians over several decades, and a president who has carried out several important reforms. I particularly commend him for his leadership in NATO and look forward to working with Biden as the president of the United States until the end of January."

POLISH PRIME MINISTER DONALD TUSK ON X:

"Mr. President @JoeBiden, many times you have made difficult decisions that have made Poland, America, and the world safer, and democracy and freedom stronger. I know that you were guided by the same principles when announcing your latest decision. Perhaps the most difficult one in your life."

CZECH PRIME MINISTER PETR FIALA ON X:

"It is undoubtedly the decision of a statesman who has served his country for decades. It is a responsible and personally difficult step, but it is all the more valuable. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the USA that a good president emerges from the democratic competition of two strong and equal candidates."