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The European Union and the United States said on Tuesday they were studying Iran’s response to what the bloc called a “final” proposal to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, after Tehran called on Washington to show flexibility.
A US State Department spokesman said the United States shared the European Union’s views on the Iranian response it received from the EU.
In turn, an EU spokeswoman told reporters in Brussels: “At the moment, we are studying it (the Iranian response) and we are consulting with other JCPOA participants and with the United States about the appropriate way forward.”
It declined to provide a timetable for any reaction by the European Union.
On Monday, Tehran responded to the draft submitted by the European Union mediators to the Iranian negotiators in the last round of the Vienna talks on August 8.
Washington has said it is ready to strike a deal quickly in order to revive the 2015 deal based on European proposals.
The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that “Iran submitted a written response to the draft text of the Vienna Agreement and announced that the agreement would be concluded if the United States responded with realism and flexibility.”
An informed source told the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency that Iran expects a response within the next two days.
A spokesman for Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, who coordinated the talks to bring Iran and the United States back into the 2015 deal, said the bloc received Iran’s response late Monday.
The possibility of reaching an agreement that would lead to the lifting of US sanctions on Iran’s oil production, which amounts to 2.5 million barrels per day, led to a decline in oil prices in global markets, as US oil prices in futures contracts fell by about three percent to end trading at the price of $90 a barrel.
ideas and initiatives
It was reported that Iran, in its response, raised issues in the European proposal, but “provided ideas and initiatives” to address them.
Hours before Iran presented its response, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian indicated that there are three outstanding issues, and explained that the United States had agreed “verbally” to two demands of Iran in talks to revive the Iranian nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He did not go into details, but observers believe that one of the issues relates to an investigation conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency into traces of uranium found at three ancient, undeclared sites in Iran.
The agency says that Iran was not cooperating and wants the investigation to ignore the rest of the matters. Western sources say Tehran’s response did not mention the issue of IAEA safeguards, suggesting that Iran’s concerns may have been somehow addressed. The other sticking point is related to guarantees to preserve the agreement, according to the Iranian foreign minister, who said that the United States did not comment on it. The Iranian “Noor News” agency, which is close to the Supreme National Security Council, said on Tuesday that the EU draft “lacks transparent answers” to the issues raised by Iran. “A deal can be reached if America is pragmatic and flexible,” IRNA said.
The P5+1 group (which is Russia, Britain, Germany, China, the United States and France) is currently negotiating with Iran regarding reviving the Iranian nuclear agreement in its original form since April of last year in Vienna.
Hopes of an agreement that could lift US sanctions on Iranian oil, which produces 2.5 million barrels per day, led to a drop in prices in global markets, as US oil futures fell by about 3 percent to close below $90 a barrel.
The agreement was in a moribund state after the United States withdrew from it in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, whose administration reimposed severe sanctions on Tehran.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday that Washington has informed Borrell of its views.
An unnamed Iranian diplomat said, according to IRNA, that “the EU’s proposals are acceptable on the condition that they provide assurances to Iran on various points related to sanctions and guarantees,” as well as outstanding issues with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran and Russia, as well as indirectly the United States, resumed talks on the nuclear deal earlier in August after a months-long hiatus.
The negotiations, coordinated by the European Union, began in April 2021 and reached a dead end in March 2022.
The European Union said last Tuesday that it expected Tehran and Washington to respond “very quickly” to the “final” text.
Washington had said it was ready to conclude a deal quickly to restore the 2015 deal based on European Union proposals. Whether or not Tehran and Washington accept the “ultimate” offer from the European Union, diplomats and officials told Reuters, neither of them is likely to declare the deal dead because keeping it alive is in the interests of both sides. And the stakes are high. Failure in the nuclear negotiations would run the risk of a new regional war with Israel threatening military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. Iran, which has long denied such ambition, has warned of a “crushing” response to any Israeli attack.