EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has been traveling among Middle East capitals of late trying to get both sides back the negotiating table surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, and he says time is running out as the window of opportunity is closing.
"If we want to conclude an agreement, decisions are needed now. This is still possible, but the political space to revive the JCPOA may narrow soon," he tweeted to start out the week. He's recently been in Tehran as well as Doha, Qatar - talking to both sides as each blames the other for stalled negotiations.
The UN nuclear weapons watchdog IAEA is also issuing fresh warnings of tensions at a boiling point between Iran and Israel, which can potentially be quickly allayed if a way forward is found on the nuclear deal.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned that a Middle East region arms race could break out if the Islamic Republic gets closer to nuclear weapons capability - though Tehran has long insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes.
"We are now in a situation where Iran’s neighbors could start to fear the worst and plan accordingly. There are countries in the region today looking very carefully at what is happening with Iran, and tensions in the region are rising," Grossi said in Tuesday remarks cited in Bloomberg. "Political leaders have on occasionally openly stated they would actively seek nuclear weapons if Iran were to pose a nuclear threat."
As for Israel, while it does not 'officially' have declared nuclear weapons, it is widely known that it long ago achieved nuclear weapons status.
Nearly a month ago, Grossi warned that a potential deal would suffer a "fatal blow" if direct talks are not restored in under four weeks. Given the ongoing Ukraine war and resulting anti-Russia energy sanctions by the US and EU, the West is badly in need of restoring Iranian oil to the global market, also as Washington even looks to such "rogue" states as Venezuela.
French President Emmanuel Macron in particular is lobbying hard for a deal to succeed, which is instead hanging by a thread.
He said on Tuesday upon meeting with Israel's new prime minister that it must succeed:
"We have to defend this (nuclear) deal (with Iran). And take in account the interests of our friends in the area, primarily Israel," Macron told reporters during a joint press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
Israel has long been against it, seeing in any resurrected deal an opportunity the Iranians will use to cover up a nuclear weapons development program. The Israelis have for well over a year sought to thwart it, but have also said that it there is a deal it must be very strong, and include imposed limitations on Iranian long-range missiles as well.