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Amir-Abdollahian says Iran deliberating on US response to comments on EU draft proposal, preparing its own answer

In this file picture, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Enrique Mora (2nd L) and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani (2nd R) wait for the start of a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, on December 3, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Iran is carefully examining Washington’s response to the proposals for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal and removal of anti-Tehran sanctions, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says, stressing that the Islamic Republic is preparing its own answer.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a telephone conversation on Thursday with his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown its goodwill and seriousness in order to reach a strong and lasting agreement. My colleagues are carefully and quickly reviewing the text and preparing the answer,” the top Iranian diplomat pointed out.

The two sides also exchanged viewpoints on the most important issues of common interest, as well as the latest developments in the course of negotiations to resurrect the Iran nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and removal of sanctions against Tehran.

Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that enhancement of relations with neighboring countries constitutes a top priority in the foreign policy of the incumbent Iranian administration led by President Ebrahim Raeisi.

He expressed satisfaction with the growing relations between Tehran and Abu Dhabi, and called for the resolution of consular problems of Iranians living in the United Arab Emirates, namely Iranian schools in the Arab country.

Amir-Abdollahian said on Wednesday during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that "stronger guarantees" were needed from the American side to reach and agreement.

"We have received the American side's last text, and my colleagues are closely studying the response with the required [level of] rigor and speed," he remarked, flanked by Lavrov.

The top Iranian diplomat, however, asserted that concerning [the issue of] guarantee, Tehran needs "stronger text and stronger guarantees" to wrap up negotiations underway since April last year to revive the deal and to lift crippling sanctions on Iran.

On Sunday, Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said in a post on its Twitter page that Tehran will continue to scrutinize Washington’s response to the initiatives for the revival of the JCPOA and removal of anti-Iran sanctions by the end of the current week.

It said the detailed examination of the US response to Tehran regarding the EU’s coordinating ideas is still ongoing at expert levels, adding that the process will continue at least until the end of Friday.

The spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kan’ani, had announced on August 24 that Iran had received the US’s response to Tehran’s proposals aimed at resolving the remaining issues in the talks on sanctions removal and revival of the JCPOA.

Kan’ani said the response was received through the European Union coordinator Enrique Mora, 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 Iranian diplomat pointed out.

Four days of intense talks between representatives of Iran and the five remaining parties to the 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 Joe Biden administration to submit its response to Iran's comments on the EU draft.

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 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.

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