Top EU Foreign Policy Chief Says Iran Holding Up Nuclear Deal

Russia got confidential assurances on trade

Addressing the Iran nuclear deal, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell noted “sometimes they think they’re almost there. And other days not.” That seems to be a succinct summary of what is happening with the Vienna talks.

Borrell came in trying to facilitate the tail end of negotiations, but is now suggesting that Iran is the hold-up, and that the status of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) being removed from a terror blacklist is clearly part of what’s slowing this down.

That’s a surprise, as previous reports were that the IRGC de-listing deal was separate from the Vienna deal. Iran, moreover, had issued statements suggesting the two didn’t need to be resolved at once.

Borrell offered some other details on what’s been happening in recent weeks, including that one of Russia’s concerns was that the sanctions relief would put Iran’s oil back on the market, lowering prices and potentially costing Russian oil major revenues.

That too is interesting, as the price of oil was seen as a big reason for the Iran deal right now. Borrell said it was resolved with a confidential assurance to Russia on overall trade, which is interesting because the US is very much resisting any deals with Russia recently.

Borrell indicated that his team is making the rounds between Tehran, Vienna, and DC trying to work something out. Long story short, however, it seems that the deal could either happen really soon, or continue to get dragged on with minor delays.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of