Iran is seeking economic guarantees from the US to revive a long-stalled 2015 nuclear deal so as “not to be stung twice” the same way, its foreign minister said.
The agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic programme to guarantee that it could not develop a nuclear weapon — something it has always denied seeking.
But the US unilateral withdrawal from the accord in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump and the reimposition of biting economic sanctions prompted Iran to begin rolling back on its own commitments.
“We do not want to be stung twice on the same spot. In order to enjoy the full economic benefits of the JCPOA, the Americans must accept some commitments and guarantees,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state television in an interview on Thursday night (21 July).
“We are now at a point where we have a text ready in front of us; we agree with all parties on 95% of its content,” he said. “We are serious about reaching a good, strong and lasting agreement but we do not want an agreement at any price.”
Talks in Vienna that started in April 2021 to restore the deal have stalled since March amid differences between Tehran and Washington on several issues.
The two sides negotiated indirectly through the European Union coordinator.
Qatar hosted indirect talks last month between the United States and Iran in a bid to get the process back on track, but those discussions broke up after two days without any breakthrough.
“The Americans have not yet assured us that we can enjoy the full economic benefits of the JCPOA,” Amir-Abdollahian stressed, saying Iran will continue its indirect negotiations with the US through the European Union.
On Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Iran “doesn’t seem to have made the political decision – or decisions, I should say -necessary to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA.”
“We have continued to engage in indirect diplomacy with Iran, courtesy of the efforts of the European Union and other partners, but Iran, to this point at least, has not displayed an inclination to seek that deal,” according to a briefing on the Department’s website.