Iran ‘has dropped main hang-ups’ in way of reinstating nuclear deal says US official

Iran ‘has dropped main hang-ups’ in way of reinstating nuclear deal says US official
Did the Vienna Talks finally crack it? / Fars News Agency.
By bne IntelIiNews August 23, 2022

The US has reportedly claimed that Iran has dropped some of its main demands on reinstating the nuclear deal, or JCPOA, struck with major powers in 2015.

One of those shed demands was the insistence that UN atomic watchdog inspectors close some probes into Iran’s nuclear development programme, according to a senior US official cited by Reuters on August 22.

The report followed an Al-Monitor article that told how on August 21, during a speech, Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, denied Tehran has made major concessions in talks to revive the nuclear deal. Raisi said that Iran has been able to get “a considerable amount of its demands” from other countries since his administration came to office a year ago. “In no meeting or negotiation did we sell the rights of the people short,” he said, adding that his administration did not “tie the lives of the people to foreign factors”. 

The official quoted by Reuters, however, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that although Tehran has been saying Washington has made concessions, Iran has dropped some key demands.

"They came back last week and basically dropped the main hang-ups to a deal," the official was further reported as saying, adding: "We think they have finally crossed the Rubicon and moved toward possibly getting back into the deal on terms that [US] President [Joe] Biden can accept. If we are closer today [to an agreement], it's because Iran has moved. They conceded on issues that they have been holding onto from the beginning."

The official was also cited as saying that gaps remain between the US and Iran on finding a deal for a revived JCPOA and that "it could take a little longer" to come to a final agreement, if one is possible.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on August 22 that he hoped that the US would this week give a positive response to an EU proposal drawn up for the reinstatement of the JCPOA.

No nuclear deal might endanger peace in the Middle East, with Iran seen as on the verge of having the highly enriched uranium and knowhow to build at least a crude nuclear bomb and Israel sabre-rattling, saying it would take military action should diplomacy not prove sufficient to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. In return for curbing its nuclear development programme to the point where inspectors can guarantee it remains entirely civilian, Iran would benefit from the removal of heavy economic sanctions.

Prior to Borrell’s remarks, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani accused Washington of "procrastinating" in the negotiations.

The Biden administration is facing strong opposition from Republicans and some Democrats to striking an agreement to bring back the JCPOA and November brings the US mid-term elections.