Iran submits a ‘written response’ in nuclear deal talks
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran said Tuesday it submitted a “written response” to what has been described as a final roadmap to restore its tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency offered no details on the substance of its response, but suggested that Tehran still wouldn’t take the European Union-mediated proposal, despite warnings there would be no more negotiations.
“The differences are on three issues, in which the United States has expressed its verbal flexibility in two cases, but it should be included in the text,” the IRNA report said. “The third issue is related to guaranteeing the continuation of (the deal), which depends on the realism of the United States.”
Tehran under hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi has repeatedly tried to blame Washington for the delay in reaching an accord. Monday was reported to have been a deadline for Iran’s response.
Nabila Massrali, a spokesperson for the EU on foreign affairs and security policy, told The Associated Press that the EU received Iran’s response on Monday night.
“We are studying it and are consulting with the other JCPOA participants and the U.S. on the way ahead,” she said, using an acronym for the formal name for the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The EU has been the go-between in the indirect talks as Iran refused to negotiate directly with America since then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the accord in 2018.
In Washington, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the U.S. had also received Iran’s comments through the EU and was “in the process of studying them.”
“We are, at the same time, engaged in consultations with the EU and our European allies on the way ahead,” he said.
Price reiterated that the U.S. agrees with the EU’s “fundamental point” that “what could be negotiated over the course of these past 16, 17 months has been negotiated.”
In previous comments Monday, Price accused Iran of making “unacceptable demands” beyond the text of the 2015 nuclear deal, which saw Tehran drastically limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
“If Iran wants these sanctions lifted, they will need to alter their underlying conduct,” Price said. “They will need to change the dangerous activities that gave rise to these sanctions in the first place.”
As of the last public count, Iran has a stockpile of some 3,800 kilograms (8,370 pounds) of enriched uranium. Under the deal, Tehran could enrich uranium to 3.67% purity, while maintaining a stockpile of uranium of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) under constant scrutiny of surveillance cameras and international inspectors.
Iran now enriches uranium up to 60% purity — a level it never reached before and one that is a short, technical step away from 90%. Nonproliferation experts warn Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb. Meanwhile, the surveillance cameras have been turned off and other footage has been seized by Iran.
However, Iran still would need to design a bomb and a delivery system for it, likely a monthslong project. Tehran insists its program is peaceful, though the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency say Iran had an organized military nuclear program until 2003.
Associated Press writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
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