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Iran says it will deliver ‘final’ nuclear talks proposal Monday

‘If our opinion is accepted, we’re ready to conclude and announce the accord,’ FM says; earlier an official said deal was close but ‘progress has not fully satisfied our demands’

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question during a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2022 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian listens to a question during a joint press briefing with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2022 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran’s foreign minister said Monday that Tehran wuld deliver its “final” proposal later in the day on talks to revive its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, after Washington accepted key demands.

“The American side has verbally accepted the two demands” from Iran, said Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as quoted by state news agency IRNA, without specifying what the demands were.

“We will send our final proposals in writing by midnight,” he added. “If our opinion is accepted, we are ready to conclude and announce the accord at a meeting of foreign ministers.”

IRNA said Friday that Iran may accept a final compromise worked out in Vienna to save the landmark 2015 deal, which aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

The deal has been moribund since the 2018 withdrawal of the United States under then-president Donald Trump.

The major powers are awaiting Tehran’s response to a proposal submitted on July 26 by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Earlier Monday Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani told journalists that Tehran’s minimum negotiating points must be respected in order to revive the troubled Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“Relative progress has been made, but this progress has not fully satisfied Iran’s legal demands, and we have other expectations from the other side, and we believe that all interests should be met,” he said.

“We are close to an agreement, but on the condition that Iran’s red lines are respected and the main interests of the country are provided.”

He did not provide further details.

Kanaani’s remarks echo the views expressed by an unidentified Iranian diplomat who told the official news agency IRNA on Friday that the proposal for a deal submitted last week by the European Union was “acceptable provided that they provide assurances to Iran on various points, related to sanctions and safeguards.”

Negotiators from Iran, the US, and the EU resumed indirect talks over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal on Thursday after a months-long standstill in negotiations. Last week, a so-called final text was submitted to the parties to the talks in a last gasp bid to salvage the deal.

European diplomats expressed optimism in the following days that the deal would be accepted. However, Israeli officials dismissed these hopes in comments to the Ynet news site and Haaretz daily on Tuesday, claiming the Iranians would not sign onto a deal that is not a “significant improvement” for them from the 2015 pact.

Iran signed the JCPOA in 2015 with the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia, and China. The deal saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium under the watch of UN inspectors in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani (L) leaves after talks at the Coburg Palais, the venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on August 4, 2022. (Alex HALADA / AFP)

In 2018 then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the US out of the accord and said he would negotiate a stronger deal, but that didn’t happen. Iran began breaking the deal’s terms a year later.

Israel believes Iran wishes to build a nuclear bomb. It has reportedly carried out sabotage operations within the Islamic Republic to delay the development of a weapon.

Iran has denied any nefarious intentions and claims its program is designed for peaceful purposes, though it has recently been enriching uranium to levels that international leaders say have no civil use.

A main sticking point in the latest negotiations was Iran’s demand for its paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be removed from the US list of terrorist organizations — a designation imposed by Trump in 2019. Washington has refused to do so.

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