Iran responds to EU nuclear text, seeks U.S. flexibility

DUBAI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Iran on Monday responded to the European Union’s “final” draft text to save the 2015 nuclear deal, an EU official said, as Iran’s foreign minister urged the United States to show flexibility in scrapping the remaining three. problem

After 16 months of tense, indirect US-Iranian talks, including shuttling between EU parties, a senior EU official said on August 8 that they had put forward a “final” offer and “expected a response within a few weeks.”

Washington has said it is ready to quickly seal a deal to restore the 2015 deal based on EU proposals, with Iranian negotiators saying Tehran will be informed after “additional thoughts and considerations” on the EU text.

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An EU official did not provide any details on Iran’s response to the text on Monday.

“There are three issues that, if resolved, we can reach an agreement in the coming days,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said earlier Monday, without suggesting that Tehran’s reaction would be final acceptance or rejection.

“We have told them that our red lines must be respected … We have shown enough flexibility … We do not want to reach an agreement that after 40 days, two months or three months cannot be completed on the ground.”

The United States has said the deal can only be revived if Iran drops “extraneous” issues, an apparent reference to Tehran’s demands that the UN nuclear watchdog stop investigating Iran’s trace uranium enrichment and its Revolutionary Guards come off the US terror list. Read on

Diplomats and officials told Reuters that whether Tehran and Washington accept the EU’s “final” offer, neither is likely to declare the deal dead because it is in both sides’ interests to keep it alive. Read on

Amiradollahian said that “the coming days are very important” and that “failure to show that flexibility will not be the end of the world … then we will need more efforts and discussions to resolve the remaining issues.”

A failure in nuclear negotiations would lead to the threat of military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran, which has denied having such ambitions, has warned of a “crushing” response to any Israeli attack.

“Like Washington, we have our own plan B if talks fail,” Amirbadollahian said.

In 2018, after then-President Donald Trump abandoned the deal reached before taking office, saying it was too soft on Iran and reimposed tough US sanctions, the Islamic Republic began breaching limits on uranium enrichment.

The 2015 deal was on track for revival in March after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and US President Joe Biden’s administration in Vienna.

But the talks broke down over obstacles, including Tehran’s demand that Washington guarantee that no US president would abandon the deal, as Trump did. Read on

Biden can’t make that promise because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political understanding, not a legally binding agreement.

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Writing by Parisa Hafeji; Additional reporting by Simon Lewis and ARshad Mohammad in Washington; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Grant McCool

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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