Reports by news website close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said Tehran’s review of the US proposal is going to continue until the end of the week.
Iran and the United States have found a manoeuvre to address the United Nations nuclear watchdog’s probe into Tehran’s uranium programme that granted both sides an interim victory for now “but delays a final resolution,” three sources privy to the matter said.
Before fully implementing a proposed deal to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic reportedly attempted pressured Washington to agree to end investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into uranium traces detected at three unauthorised sites, Reuters reported.
However, the US and its allies disagree, claiming that the probe can only be finalised once Iran has provided the Vienna-based IAEA with “satisfactory” responses.
In turn, Tehran has maintained it will not implement the agreement until the investigations have been concluded, further “postponing the fundamental question of whether the IAEA will close them and whether Iran might go ahead with the wider deal if not.”
Resolution of the dubbed “safeguards” investigations is a sticking point to the UN agency, which seeks to “ensure” parties signed on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are adhering to the maximum nuclear material they are directed to use.
In order to revive the agreement to rein in Tehran’s nuclear programme, a senior US official told Reuters last week that Iran has allegedly dropped some of its main demands, including its insistence that international inspectors close some probes into its uranium enrichment programme.
“Iran originally had wanted a commitment that the IAEA would complete the agency’s safeguards investigations by a date certain,” said a US official on condition of anonymity, adding that Washington and its partners rejected this.
“Iran came back and stated that if the safeguards issues were not resolved by Re-Implementation Day, they would reserve the right not to take the steps to curb their nuclear programme slated to occur on that date,” said the US official, as quoted by Reuters.
The proposed draft on restoring the JCPOA details steps leading to Re-Implementation Day, a nod to the original deal’s Implementation Day, when the last sanctions- and nuclear-related measures went into effect, diplomats have said, according to Reuters.
Iran, however, did not budge, with its Nuclear Chief Mohammad Eslami last week saying “the IAEA probes should be closed before the Re-Implementation Day” if the JCPOA is set to be salvaged.
Iran maintains the IAEA must retract its allegations regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme in order for the nuclear accord to be saved.
On Monday, Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, declared that Iran was in talks with the P4+1 to eliminate allegations and remove the pretexts used by the adversary to continually level accusations against the Islamic Republic, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
Iran’s participation in the nuclear agreement-related talks is still aimed at getting the sanctions lifted so that the Iranian people could reap from the economic benefits of the agreement, he emphasised.
This comes as the head of the occupying state of Israel’s Mossad spy agency is set to visit the US early September for talks on the possible restoration of the JCPOA, an official said on Sunday, according to The New Arab.
The announced visit is the most recent attempt by the Zionist regime to get western powers to abandon the landmark accord with Iran.
Experts believe a failure in the nuclear talks poses risk of a fresh regional war, with the Israelis threatening military action against Tehran. Iran has meanwhile promised a “crushing” response should Tel Aviv make a move.
US abandonment of the JCPOA
Washington unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA in May 2018 under the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran. In turn, the US reimposed sanctions on Iran.
Indirect talks between Iran and the United States initially began in April 2021 in Vienna with the participation of the p4+1, namely the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia plus Germany.
Progress was evident during the first round, as Tehran and Washington both agreed to form two working groups.
One such group was dedicated to the lifting of crippling US sanctions on the Islamic Republic, while the other focused on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. However, the talks later stalled, with even more sanctions imposed on the already-affected country.
Tehran also enriched its uranium production at 60% as a response to a series of attacks on its nuclear sites, including its Natanz facility. Iran pointed the blame at Israel, citing the Zionist regime’s objection to the revival of the nuclear deal.
Israel’s claims over Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon have long been used as means to justify its hostility towards the country, as well as its persistence of its occupation of Palestine.
Tel Aviv itself is in possession of nuclear weapons though it is not a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)– the centrepiece of global efforts to inhibit the spread of the world’s deadliest weapon.
Iran, although an official signatory of the NPT, has been under incessant western scrutiny for the latter’s suspicion of the Islamic Republic’s alleged use of its uranium enrichment programme in developing “atomic bombs”.
Tehran insists its use to be designated for energy production and to manufacture radiopharmaceuticals for use in the country’s medicinal sector, slamming alleged arguments of its development of a nuclear weapon.
“The head of the Islamic revolution, Imam Khomeini, had released a global fatwa [ruling] that obtaining a nuclear weapon, not just using it, but also obtaining it is haram [prohibited],” Iran’s envoy to Qatar Hamid Reza Dehghani told Doha News in May.
EU proposal under review
On Wednesday, the US sent its response to the EU draft, a week after Iran sent its version, with Tehran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani confirming that a detailed review is underway.
On Sunday, Nournews, a website close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Tehran’s “precise examination of US’ responses” will continue until the end of this week.
The responses by the US and Iran come at a critical point in the talks, which have appeared to be closer to a deal than ever. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said both responses are “reasonable”.
In its response to the EU text, Iran called on the US to show flexibility in resolving three remaining issues, two of which “have been orally accepted” by Washington.
Mohammad Marandi, an advisor to the Iranian negotiating team, had said “the Iranians were able to get many concessions with respect to several issues, [including] sanctions, guarantees, verification and also preserving the nuclear advances.”
The EU had said its proposal was the “final text”, which was submitted to the parliament on 8 August, essentially announcing a pause to negotiations.
The potential restoration of the nuclear accord could see the release of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian funds as well as oil exports in return for Iran’s reduction of nuclear programme activities.
The EU proposal, according to people familiar with the matter, allegedly stipulates the lifting of sanctions against 150 economic institutions and 17 Iranian banks the day after a new agreement is signed, reports revealed.
It also says Tehran will “immediately begin to reverse the steps it took to advance its nuclear technology, which is now beyond the scope of what the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, and the deal’s original signatories say is acceptable,” the report added.
Iran will also be able to export 50 million barrels of oil per day within 120 days of the deal’s signing. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that the agreement also calls for the release of $7 billion in Iranian cash that are currently being held in South Korea.
Should the US withdraw from the nuclear accord once more, it will also be required to pay a fine, the text states, according to the anonymous sources.
This has been a sticking point for the Iranian side as it continues to demand assurances be put in place to ensure it receives compensation should any future US administration abandon the JCPOA.