Iran says nuclear deal ‘closer than ever’ but three issues need resolving
Tehran, Aug 16 (EFE).- After months of negotiations, Iran has submitted its response to the European Union’s draft proposal to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal to limit uranium enrichment with Tehran saying clarity was needed on three issues for the draft text’s final approval.
Tehran has identified three issues with the EU-mediated proposal and requested a reply to the changes within two days, Iranian state media reported Tuesday.
“The differences are on three issues, in which the United States has expressed its verbal flexibility in two cases, but it should be included in the text,” the IRNA news agency said.
“The third issue is related to guaranteeing the continuation of (the deal), which depends on the realism of the United States,” the agency added.
According to Western diplomatic sources, one of the main sticking points from Tehran’s perspective is to guarantee that the US does not abandon the agreement again, as former president Donald Trump did in 2018.
Iran has also requested for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to close an investigation into various undeclared nuclear sites after Tehran struck a deal with IAEA chief Rafael Grossi in June to stick to a three-month plan to conduct the probe.
There has been a consensus on another thorny issue, which in the past has prevented a deal, to lift economic sanctions targeting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The Western diplomatic source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Iran’s response was ambiguous.
“They have not wanted to lose face, but they have not wanted not to answer (to the European proposal),” the source added.
Mohamed Marandi, Iran’s communication adviser for nuclear talks, was more optimistic saying that Iran had expressed its concerns and that the “remaining issues are not very difficult to resolve.”
“I can’t say that there will be a deal, but we’re closer than we’ve been before,” Marandi tweeted.
In further signs a deal could be imminent, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, said on Monday that “there are three issues that if resolved, we can reach an agreement in the coming days.”
“We have told them that our red lines should be respected… We have shown enough flexibility,” Abdolahian added.
In recent weeks, the West’s fraught relations with Iran have been further strained following Friday’s attack on writer Salman Rushdie.
In 1989, following the publication of Rushdie’s Satanic Verses (1988), Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill the writer on the grounds his book was blasphemous and an insult to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.
Last week the US accused a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of plotting the assassination of former national security adviser John Bolton, something Iranian authorities have described as “ridiculous”. EFE