Politico reports that the bloc proposed loosening restrictions by the US on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in order to save the nuclear agreement.
The EU has proposed watering down the US sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a move to salvage the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, Politico reported on Friday, citing a draft of the agreement.
After 16 months of negotiations, the EU submitted the text. It was then negotiated by all the parties in Vienna. The agreement must be approved by Iran’s and US governments, who unilaterally pulled out from the agreement.
According to Politico, the text’s provisions mean that the US is set “Expect to accept greater concessions” to revive the deal, including easing the US sanctions on the IRGC, an influential branch of the Iranian Armed Forces.
Because Washington declared it a terrorist organisation, the issue of lifting the restrictions on the Revolutionary Guard Corps is particularly contentious. Many prominent US politicians and officials opposed the removal of restrictions on the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
However, Josep Borrell (EU foreign policy chief) in close cooperation and with American counterparts facilitated the European initiative. It would, however, not eliminate all sanctions, but reduce them significantly, according to the report.
According to Politico, under the proposal, non-Americans, including Europeans, would be able to do business with Iranians involved in “Transactions” with the IRGC in a way that would not trigger US sanctions. The EU would be able to do trade virtually unassisted with Iran, as it considers Iran a valuable market. According to one source, the IRGC can operate through shell companies in order to evade sanctions.
Rob Malley (US special envoy to the Iran negotiations) denied the US would budge on changing sanctions enforcement standards. He reiterated that Washington is “Not engaged in any negotiations regarding changing due diligence.” procedures in this field.
The European proposal, in addition to easing sanctions against the IRGC and allowing Iran to quickly resolve their dispute with the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), would reportedly permit Iran to speedily reach an agreement. Earlier, the UN watchdog, which has been in charge of monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, detected uranium traces at three previously undeclared sites and demanded an explanation from Tehran, which has so far refused to cooperate, Politico claims.
Iran demanded that the IAEA close its investigation into this matter. This was construed as precondition to resuscitating nuclear agreement. US and EU rejected the request, claiming that the IAEA probe was not related to the agreement.
According to the report, however, the EU now appears to have agreed to join the UN’s nuclear probe with the agreement. The EU-proposed text apparently reads that Washington and Brussels “take note of Iran’s intent” to address the problem by “re-implementation day” – the date when the agreement enters into force again.
One diplomat interviewed by the magazine voiced concerns that the approach of the US and EU signals that they are ready to sweep the issue under the carpet in pursuit of the deal, and are willing to “sacrifice IAEA’s credibility as an independent agency by politicizing its mission in Iran.”
On Friday, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s representative at the negotiations, revealed that the talks to salvage the Iran nuclear deal were drawing to an end, with the final text of the deal almost agreed upon. He stated that the end goal of the negotiations is to restore the 2015 agreement with some minor changes, as so much time has passed since its signing.
The initial nuclear deal signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, UK, France, and Germany – as well as Russia, China, and the EU – involved Tehran agreeing to certain restrictions on its nuclear industry in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions and other incentives.
It was attacked by Donald Trump’s US, which unilaterally withdrew the US from the accord, claiming it was flawed. Iran began to reduce some of the commitments it made under the agreement, including the amount of enriched-uranium produced. This could have the potential of making Iran an atomic bomb maker. According to the Iranian authorities, however, this “It is not on our agenda.”