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Iran responds to EU draft text to save 2015 nuclear deal, seeks US flexibility

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Iran responded Monday to the European Union’s “final” draft text to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal, an EU official said, as Iran’s foreign minister called on the United States to show flexibility to address three outstanding issues. to solve.

After 16 months of erratic, circumstantial US-Iranian talks, with the EU switching between the parties, a senior EU official on August 8 said it had made a “final” offer and expected a response within “very, very few weeks.” . .”

While Washington has said it is ready to quickly strike a deal to restore the 2015 deal based on the EU’s proposals, Iranian negotiators said Tehran’s “additional views and considerations” to the EU text would be conveyed later. .

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

“There are three issues that we can reach in the coming days if they are resolved,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said earlier on Monday, suggesting Tehran’s response would not be a final acceptance or rejection.

“We have told them that our red lines must be respected… We have shown sufficient flexibility… We do not want to reach a deal that cannot be realized on site after 40 days, two months or three months.”

The United States said the deal could only be revived if Iran dropped “strange” issues, a clear reference to Tehran’s demands that the UN nuclear watchdog close an investigation into unexplained traces of uranium in Iran and that its Revolutionary Guard comes from a US terrorism list.

Diplomats and officials told Reuters that whether Tehran and Washington accept the EU’s “final” offer, neither will declare the pact dead, as keeping it alive serves the interests of both sides.

Amirabdollahian said that “the next few days are very important” and “it would not be the end of the world if they are not flexible … Then we will need more efforts and conversations … to solve the remaining problems. “

Much is at stake as failure of nuclear negotiations would risk another regional war with Israel threatening military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability .

Iran, which has long denied any such ambition, has warned of a “shattering” response to any Israeli attack.

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

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump renounced the deal he had reached before taking office, calling it too soft on Iran, and re-imposing severe US sanctions, prompting the Islamic Republic to begin exceeding uranium enrichment limits. .

The 2015 agreement appeared on the brink of revival in March after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the US

The administration of President Joe Biden in Vienna.

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

Biden cannot promise this because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political agreement, not a legally binding treaty.

(REUTERS)

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