October 6, 2022

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Why EU rushed to unveil ‘final text’ in Vienna

TEHRAN – After four days of intensive talks, the negotiators of Iran, the U.S., and the P4+1 group of countries headed to their capitals for consultations on a contested text presented by the coordinator of the talks. 

On Monday, the Iranian negotiating team returned to Tehran after concluding intensive talks on a set of thorny issues that have long awaited a U.S. political decision. During the talks, Iran presented its views and relative progress was made regarding some issues, according to a senior Iranian foreign ministry official.

On the last day of negotiations, Enrique Mora, the EU coordinator for the talks, presented some ideas to all parties. Iran offered its preliminary response and said the final response was only possible after a thorough review of the ideas. “Such issues need to be studied thoroughly and we will give our final response to the coordinator of the Vienna talks and other sides,” the Iranian official said. 

While there were still outstanding issues, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced the end of negotiations, a move that raised eyebrows in Tehran and elsewhere.

“What can be negotiated has been negotiated, and it’s now in a final text. However, behind every technical issue and every paragraph lies a political decision that needs to be taken in the capitals,” Borrell said on Twitter on Monday. 

He added, “If these answers are positive, then we can sign this deal.”

Borrell didn’t mention Iran by name but Western media, citing diplomatic sources, reinforced Borrell’s narrative that the text presented by the EU was not renegotiable and that Iran had to accept it. This is while Iran had told its negotiating partners that it needs to study the text thoroughly. In other words, Iran does not believe what has been presented by the EU is a final text. 

Nour News, a website close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, took a jab at the EU for portraying its “proposals” as a “final text.”

“The European Union, as the coordinator for the talks, cannot introduce its proposals as a ‘final text’ because making decisions in this regard is only in the hands of the negotiating parties,” Nour News said, noting that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the existing text as a final one.

It added, “No other official can speak of a final text when the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a major party to the negotiations, does not recognize the existing text as the final deal.”

By speaking about the finalization of the draft deal, the West seeks to create a narrative that the draft deal is not negotiable and that the two sides should give their final response, according to Nour News. 

The website said this approach is unacceptable and totally contradicts the principles of negotiations. 

Pundits believe Borrell’s presentation of the final text could aim to put pressure on Iran to agree to what has been negotiated so far. The U.S. quick approval of Borrell’s text has led some pundits to believe that the text was already coordinated with the U.S.

The EU text is also controversial from another point of view. Nour News said Borrell’s text was an “effort to create a special status and role” for the European Union in the Vienna talks, one that “has never been approved by the two sides of the negotiations.” In other words, the sole role of the EU is to coordinate the talks, not to present proposals. 

It seems that the EU has sought to fill the vacuum left by the absence of the E3 negotiators in the recent round of talks. 

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/475476/Why-EU-rushed-to-unveil-final-text-in-Vienna

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