The United States is expected to give its response soon to Iranian comments about a draft proposal for reviving an international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The U.S. side has been studying the European Union-drafted document that emerged from months of negotiations.

A senior Biden administration official that while the parties are closer to an agreement than they were two weeks ago, “some gaps remain.”

The official said the EU proposal does not include Iran’s demand that the United States remove the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps from a list of designated terrorist organizations, nor a demand that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close an investigation into traces of uranium found at three undeclared sites.

U.S. and Iranian delegations at the negotiations in Vienna have engaged indirectly, with the other parties of the deal acting as intermediaries.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, one of Iran’s advisers to the talks, tweeted Tuesday that removing the IRGC’s terrorist designation was never an Iranian demand, and that Iran will not agree to a deal before the IAEA “closes the false accusations file.”

Iran and a group that includes the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany agreed in 2015 to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, giving Iran relief from sanctions that strangled its key oil exports. The aim from the international side was to ensure Iran could not develop nuclear weapons.

In 2018, then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal he had long criticized as too friendly to Iran and added fresh sanctions on Iran.

The Iranians responded by taking incremental steps away from their commitments under the nuclear deal, including enriching uranium to higher levels, holding larger stockpiles of enriched uranium, and deploying more advanced centrifuges at nuclear facilities.

U.S. President Joe Biden came into office pledging to revive the deal, which was signed while he served as vice president under President Barack Obama.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

leave a reply