'Not too late' to conclude nuclear deal with Iran, US says as talks stall

US holds out hope but blames Iran for not putting 'us in a position to close a deal'

Michael Hernandez  | 15.09.2022 - Update : 16.09.2022
'Not too late' to conclude nuclear deal with Iran, US says as talks stall


It is "not too late" to secure a mutual return to compliance with the landmark nuclear deal world powers struck with Iran, the US said Thursday.

The State Department continued to blame Tehran for an ongoing impasse in the indirect talks, saying Iran has failed to respond reasonably to a draft agreement put forward by the EU that would enable it to receive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)'s economic benefits in return for its full compliance with the deal's nuclear-related restrictions and inspections.

"There is only one reason that we have not yet reached an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, and that is because Tehran has not yet accepted the reasonable basis presented by the EU," spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

"It's clear from Iran's response that these gaps still remain. Iran's response did not put us in a position to close a deal. But we continue to contend that it's not too late to conclude a deal, as long as we believe that pursuing a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is in the interests of the United States, and our national security interests," he added.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented the draft agreement to the parties in August and while it was initially met with signs of optimism from the parties, recent weeks have seen major gaps emerge.

Notably, reports have suggested that Iran revived its demand that an International Atomic Energy Agency probe into traces of uranium being found at three undeclared sites in 2019 be closed.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and the EU. Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limiting its nuclear activities and allowed for a broad range of international inspections on its program in exchange for world powers agreeing to drop their economic sanctions against Iran.

Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to retaliate by taking steps away from its nuclear-related commitments. It has since gone on to surpass limits on the amount of uranium it is allowed to possess, as well as the levels to which it is allowed to enrich the nuclear material.

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