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EU Studying Iran’s Response to Proposal on JCPOA Revival 

EU Studying Iran’s Response to Proposal on JCPOA Revival 
EU Studying Iran’s Response to Proposal on JCPOA Revival 

The European Union is studying Iran’s response to its proposed text on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal which was received late on Monday, according to a European official. 
“We are studying it and are consulting with the other JCPOA participants and the US on the way ahead,” said a spokesperson for Josep Borrell, the EU coordinator of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The 2015 deal promised sanctions relief to Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear activity, but the United States pulled out four years ago and reimposed tough sanctions that prompted Tehran to react by scaling down its commitments. 
Negotiations started in April 2021 in Vienna, Austria, to work out how both sides can resume compliance, but were stalled in March until Borrell put forward a new initiative to break the impasse which paved the way for the resumption of talks. 
Iran reviewed the text and delivered its response to the coordinators on Monday evening. 
The US had already said on Monday that it was informing the EU foreign policy chief of its response. 
Although the EU called its proposal as the “final text” on restoring the JCPOA, Iran says it still has reservations. 
Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran has concerns on three issues, which he did not specify.
Tehran demands a complete and verifiable removal of all sanctions imposed following the US exit from the deal, in a way that it can fully enjoy the economic benefits of the deal. It also wants guarantees of US lasting adherence to the agreement, as well as the closure of its safeguards case at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Amir-Abdollahian said the US has shown relative flexibility about two issues orally, which need to be included in a written text, but a third issue regarding guarantees still requires decisions by the US. 
“We do not want to reach a deal that fails to be materialized on the ground after a while.” 

 

Not Too Inflammatory 

According to one senior Western official, Iran’s response is mostly focused on outstanding questions related to sanctions and guarantees around economic engagement, Politico reported. 
The same official said the Iranian reply does not contain any further demands with regard to the IAEA investigation into the origins of uranium traces allegedly found at several old sites in Iran. 
This could suggest that Iran has accepted the EU proposal, which will allow the conclusion of the probe if the IAEA confirms that Iran has provided credible answers prior to the so-called reimplementation day—the day that the nuclear deal will go into effect. 
The text would also enable Iran to block reimplementation day, should the probe remain open.
Although Iran’s reply suggests that it wants to continue negotiating some aspects of the draft and is not a final acceptance or rejection, it does not sound “too inflammatory”, according to the Western official.
Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday that if the US shows flexibility and acts realistically, a deal could be signed in the coming days, but negotiations will have continue otherwise. 
“Like Washington, we have our own plan B if the talks fail,” he added.
The US State Department spokesman said it was up to Iran to make a final deal, rejecting reported demands that are outside the scope of the negotiations.
“We do believe that what could be negotiated has been negotiated, and we’re prepared to affect a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA,” Ned Price said.
He also said that if Iran cannot or will not accept a mutual return, “we are equally prepared to continue the vigorous enforcement of our sanctions and the imposition of other diplomatic pressure.” 
Price said the US does not plan to relax enforcement of sanctions that they claim are unrelated to the JCPOA, including on third countries. 
US special envoy for Iran Robert Malley had also earlier said that Washington would not pressure the IAEA to close the Iran case and the probe would only have to end once credible answers are provided. 
 

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