Reuters on Thursday conveyed comments made at a Rome conference by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi threatening that the Islamic republic “will return to 20 percent enrichment if a deal cannot be reached” between Tehran and the P5+1 global powers, which have in recent days reportedly stumbled over issues ranging from uranium enrichment capacity to Iran’s refusal to come clean over past military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Araqchi further told the conference attendees that “failure to reach a deal will be a disaster for everyone.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP) had already assessed a day earlier that the parties would fail to conclude negotiations by the interim Joint Plan of Action’s (JPA) July 20 deadline:
A July 20 deadline for Iran and world powers to strike a nuclear deal looks increasingly likely to be extended given the seemingly huge gap that remains between the two sides, experts say.
Though the aim is still to reach agreement by the stated deadline, officials familiar with the talks admit a delay is looking more and more possible.
The JPA had swapped Iranian concessions on its uranium and plutonium program for billions in sanctions relief that Tehran badly needed to stabilize its teetering economy. Critics of the deal had repeatedly and across a variety of contexts called attention to the essential asymmetry of the agreement’s terms, which traded an irreversible infusion of capital for reversible Iranian moves.
Araqchi’s threat to reverse the Iranian regime’s core concession on uranium – the dilution of some of the 20% enriched stock to 5% purity – may be taken as strengthening the case of those skeptics.
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