Iran drops some of its key demands for nuclear pact

August 24, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:40 am IST - WASHINGTON

Final deal could take a little longer as gaps remain: official

Iran has dropped some of its main demands on resurrecting a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear programme, including its insistence that international inspectors close some probes of its atomic programme, bringing the possibility of an agreement closer, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

The U.S. aims to respond soon to a draft agreement proposed by the European Union that would bring back the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that former President Donald Trump abandoned and current President Joe Biden has sought to revive.

“They came back last week and basically dropped the main hang-ups to a deal,” the official said.

“We think they have finally crossed the Rubicon and moved toward possibly getting back into the deal on terms that President Biden can accept,” the official added. “If we are closer today, it’s because Iran has moved. They conceded on issues that they have been holding onto from the beginning.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.

IAEA probes

Iran had already largely relented on its demand that the U.S. lift its designation of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) entity, the official said.

Iran also wanted a guarantee that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would close investigations involving unexplained traces of uranium.

“Iran wants guarantees that the IAEA would close all of them. We said we would never accept that,” the official said.

The IAEA board of governors in June overwhelmingly passed a resolution criticising Iran for failing to explain the presence of uranium traces at three undeclared sites.

The official said that “it could take a little longer” to come to a final agreement, if one is possible. “We’re studying Iran’s response now and we’ll get back to them soon,” the official said.

Earlier, State Department spokesman Ned Price said there was no guarantee a deal can be struck, saying “the outcome of ongoing discussions still remains uncertain as gaps do remain.”

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