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Source: Reuters

Jul 18, 2023

European official: EU nations likely to keep missile sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - A European official on Tuesday said he expected no difficulty persuading EU nations to maintain ballistic missile sanctions on Iran due to expire in October.

The official also said he sees a window of opportunity by the end of 2023 to try to negotiate a de-escalatory nuclear deal with Iran.

"We may have a small window of opportunity to try to resume discussions with them on (a) return to the JCPOA or at least to an agreement of de-escalation … before the end of the year,” the official told reporters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity. The JCPOA is a defunct 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

In June, sources told Reuters there were three reasons to keep the sanctions in place: Russia's use of Iranian drones against Ukraine; the possibility Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia; and depriving Iran of the nuclear deal's benefits given Tehran has violated the accord, albeit only after the United States did so first.

Keeping the sanctions would reflect Western efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them despite the collapse of the 2015 deal, which then-U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

The crux of that pact, which Iran made with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S., limited Tehran's nuclear program to make it harder for it to get fissile material for a bomb in return for relief from economic sanctions.

As a result of Trump's withdrawal from the deal and U.S. President Joe Biden's failure to revive it, Iran could make the fissile material for one bomb in 12 days or so, according to U.S. estimates, down from a year when the accord was in force.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; writing by Paul Grant; editing by Tim Ahmann

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