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Iran receives US response to EU nuclear deal text, review underway: FM Spox

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani (R) and EU coordinator for the talks Enrique Mora (C) are seen during a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna in December 2021. (File photo by Reuters)

Iran has received a response from the United States on its comments to the European Union's draft proposal aimed at salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting draconian US sanctions, the foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Nasser Kan’ani announced the response was received through the European Union coordinator Enrique Mora on Wednesday evening, adding that a "careful review" has already commenced. 

“A careful review of the US opinions has started, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will announce its views in this context after having completed the review,” the spokesperson added.

Four days of intense talks between representatives of Iran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), ended on August 8 with a modified text proposed by the EU on the table.

The talks came after a five-month hiatus as the US negotiators failed to overcome their indecisiveness.  

Iran submitted its response to the EU draft proposal on August 15, a week after the latest round of talks wrapped up. After submitting its response, Tehran urged Washington to show "realism and flexibility" in order to reach an agreement.

However, it took almost ten days for the Biden administration to submit its response to Iran's comments on the EU draft.

On Monday, Kan’ani said Tehran had responded to the EU’s draft proposal and was awaiting Washington's response.

“Iran has participated seriously, constructively, and responsibly in the negotiations, responded to the proposals of the European side in a timely manner, acted innovatively, and showed the necessary flexibility for the conclusion of an agreement," the spokesman said at a press conference.

“But what matters now is the procrastination of the American side in providing an answer. The US government is responsible for the JCPOA status quo and the non-implementation of the accord. We can move to the next stage in case the US government shows serious willpower and acts responsibly in its promises and actions,” he added.

His remarks came hours after Borrell, addressing a university event in the northern Spanish city of Santander, said the response provided by Iran “was reasonable,” expressing “hope that this response will allow us to complete the negotiations.”

"There was a proposal from me as coordinator of the negotiations... and a response from Iran that I considered reasonable. It was transmitted to the United States, which has not yet responded formally," he said, adding that a possible meeting on reviving the JCPOA could be held "this week".

The US State Department also issued a statement on Monday, saying “Iran responded with several comments,” adding that Washington “will respond to Iran's response as soon as our internal consultations are completed and as soon as our consultations with our close partners are completed."

The United States, under former president Donald Trump, abandoned the deal in May 2018 and reinstated crippling sanctions that the agreement had lifted.

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital in April last year, months after Joe Biden succeeded Trump, to examine the potential of the US return to the deal and removal of sanctions.

Despite notable progress, the US indecisiveness and procrastination caused multiple interruptions in the marathon talks.

Sayed Mohammad Marandi, an advisor to Iran's negotiating team, in a Twitter post on Wednesday said a key reason nuclear negotiations were lengthy was "because under Obama the US violated obligations without paying a price and under Trump it tore up the deal without consequences."

"Despite resistance, Iranian negotiators were able to rectify this," he noted.

According to a New York Times report, officials described Iran’s response as “encouraging,” saying it does not raise major new objections.

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