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US, allies stove off deal to revive nuclear pact for months, says Iranian adviser

The file photo, taken on December 9, 2021, shows a meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)'s Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria. (By Xinhua)

An adviser to Iranian negotiators at the Vienna talks says there could have been a deal on reviving the 2015 nuclear accord months ago if the United States and its European allies had not “dragged their feet.”

“If the US/E3 had not dragged their feet in Vienna, there could have been a deal months ago. The current text was achievable long ago,” Mohammad Marandi said in a post on his Twitter account on Sunday.

He also blamed US President Joe Biden for stalling the talks between Iran and the other parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), because he fears that his predecessor Donald Trump would call his administration weak for giving concessions to Iran.

“Now team Biden is stalling, because it fears Trump will call it weak,” Marandi said.

The advisor once again reiterated Iran’s demand for an “airtight text” and a “clear path forward.”

Marandi’s tweet came after the three European parties to the JCPOA – France, Britain and Germany – in a press release on Saturday raised doubts about Iran’s intentions and commitment to a successful outcome on the JCPOA, charging that Tehran’s position contradicts its legally binding obligations and jeopardizes prospects of restoring the nuclear deal.

The European trio claimed they have been negotiating “with Iran in good faith since April 2021 to restore and fully implement” the JCPOA, along with other participants in the deal and the United States.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani slammed the “unconstructive” and “ill-considered” statement, saying the trio must accept the consequences if they continue to follow Israel’s lead.

“It is regrettable that by [issuing] such an ill-considered statement, the three European countries have followed in the footsteps of the Zionist regime down a path that will lead to the failure of negotiations,” Kan’ani said on Saturday.

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

The talks to salvage the agreement kicked off in the Austrian capital city of Vienna in April last year with the intention of examining Washington’s seriousness in rejoining the deal and removing the anti-Iran sanctions.

Since last month, there have been unfruitful, indirect exchanges of responses between Tehran and Washington over an EU draft proposal on restoring the JCPOA, with Iranian officials urging their American counterparts to show “realism” and “flexibility” in order to secure a deal.

At the same time, Trump has repeatedly hit out at the Biden administration’s foreign policy, saying it has emboldened other countries not to respect the US. According to the former US president, Iran, China, and Russia “are toying with us” and do not take the United States seriously anymore under Biden’s presidency.

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