Iran and US still apart on return to nuclear pact

Iran and US still apart on return to nuclear pact

Brussels (Brussels Morning) Iranian, US and EU officials noted on Thursday that Tehran and Washington do not see eye-to-eye on a return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Reuters reports.

A senior US State Department official did note that it was possible to “see a mutual return to compliance in the next few weeks, or an understanding of a mutual compliance”.

According to the official, “this is ultimately a matter of a political decision that needs to be made in Iran”, noting that Tehran should not ask for more while offering less than had been agreed in the original deal.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said it was unclear whether Tehran was ready to return to compliance with the nuclear pact, claiming that “the jury is out”.

Tehran in no hurry

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, observed that “when it will happen is unpredictable and a timeframe cannot be set”.

He indicated that while Tehran wants an agreement to be reached “as soon as possible, we will not do anything in a rush”.

Talks between Iran and the US on the JCPOA continue in Vienna. The deal hinges on Teheran agreeing to limit its nuclear programme, rendering it more difficult to acquire material for building a nuclear weapon, in exchange for the lifting of US, EU and UN sanctions.

According to a European diplomat, the US has put forward a proposal that includes lifting sectoral sanctions and that it remains open to lifting sanctions related to human rights and terrorism.The diplomat noted that Iran had not shown willingness to destroy advanced centrifuges. Moreover, Western diplomats suspect the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, is looking to get more from the West and is in no hurry to seal a deal before 18 June elections in Iran.