White House suggests no conditionality between revival of Iran nuclear deal, IAEA probes

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A White House spokesperson suggested on Friday that there should not be any conditionality between a revival of the Iran nuclear deal and the conclusion of watchdog probes.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the remarks during a daily briefing, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and investigations related to Iran’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Jean-Pierre said the investigations led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “are not political” and “are not leverage or bargaining chips.”

“We are unbending in our support for the IAEA’s independence,” she said. “It would be preferable to return to the JCPOA without any open safeguard issues.”

If the United States makes the “right decision,” negotiations can be concluded quickly, Mohammad Marandi, an advisor to Iran’s nuclear negotiation team, said on Friday.

“Iran has responded as promised. It’s time for the [US President Joe] Biden team to make a serious decision,” Marandi tweeted hours after Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said that Iran had given answers to the United States on the European Union’s draft of a potential nuclear agreement.

“The submitted text has a constructive approach with the aim of finalizing the negotiations,” Kanaani said in a statement.

The US State Department confirmed they have received Iran’s response through the European Union. “We are studying it and will respond through the EU, but unfortunately it is not constructive,” a department spokesman was quoted by some Western media outlets as saying.

“For the US, ‘constructive’ usually means accepting US terms. For Iran, it means a deal that is balanced and protected,” Marandi said.

Iran and the United States are indirectly exchanging views about a recent EU proposal aimed at resolving the outstanding issues on the revival of the JCPOA.

Iran signed the JCPOA with world powers in July 2015, agreeing to curb its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions on the country. However, former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the agreement and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran, prompting the latter to drop some of its commitments under the pact.

The talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal began in April 2021 in Vienna but were suspended in March this year because of political differences between Tehran and Washington.

The latest round of the nuclear talks was held in the Austrian capital in early August after a five-month hiatus. On Aug. 8, the EU put forward a “final text” of the draft decision on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

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