Iran Says EU Plan to Revive Nuclear Deal Could Be 'Acceptable'

A top official in Tehran responds positively to the European Union's proposal, which is 15 months in the making, but says assurances are still required over the U.S.' potential backtracking on the deal

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Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani in Vienna, in December.
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani in Vienna, in December. Credit: Joe Klamar AFP
Reuters
Reuters

A European Union proposal to revive a deal to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “can be acceptable if it provides assurances" on Tehran's key demands, the state news agency IRNA said on Friday, quoting a senior Iranian diplomat.

The EU said on Monday it had put forward a "final" text following four days of indirect talks between the U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna.

A senior EU official said no more changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months. He said he expected a final decision from the parties within a "very, very few weeks.”

IRNA quoted the unidentified Iranian diplomat as saying Tehran was reviewing the proposal. “Proposals by the EU can be acceptable if they provide Iran with assurance on the issues of safeguards, sanctions and guarantees,” the diplomat said.

The Islamic Republic has sought to obtain guarantees that no future U.S. president would renege on the deal if it were revived, as then-President Donald Trump did in 2018 and restored harsh U.S. sanctions on Iran.

However, President Joe Biden cannot provide such ironclad assurances because the deal is a political understanding rather than a legally binding treaty.

Washington has said it is ready to quickly reach an agreement to revive the deal on the basis of the EU proposals.

Iranian officials said they would convey their "additional views and considerations" to the EU, which coordinates the talks, after consultations in Tehran.

The 2015 pact seemed near revival in March. But 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the Biden administration in Vienna were thrown into disarray chiefly over Iran's insistence that Washington remove its elite Revolutionary Guards Corps from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.

Under the 2015 agreement, Iran curbed its disputed uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear weapons, in return for relief from U.S., EU and UN sanctions. Tehran says it wants nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.

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