A US official told Reuters on Monday that an agreement to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is closer now since Tehran has conceded on some of its key demands.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Iran dropped its demand to lift the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization and its demand for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to stop its investigation into traces of uranium at undeclared Iranian nuclear sites.
“[Iran] came back last week and basically dropped the main hang-ups to a deal,” the official said. “We think they have finally crossed the Rubicon and moved toward possibly getting back into the deal on terms that President Biden can accept. If we are closer today, it’s because Iran has moved. They conceded on issues that they have been holding onto from the beginning.”
Iran dropping its demand on the IRGC designation is a major concession since the measure involves sweeping US sanctions on all current and former IRGC members. Tehran was said to have dropped the IRGC demand back in June.
Iran has always maintained that it would bring its nuclear program back into the limits of the JCPOA if the US lifts all Trump-era sanctions that came after the US withdrew from the deal in 2018. But the Biden administration refused, which dragged out the negotiations.
The US is currently reviewing Iran’s response to an EU proposal to revive the JCPOA. The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrel has said Tehran’s response was “reasonable” and is hoping that the US will respond this week.
Borrel said Tuesday that most countries involved with the JCPOA talks agree with the EU’s proposal to salvage the agreement. “Most of them agree, but I still don’t have the answer from the United States, who I understand have to discuss it, and we expect during this week to receive an answer,” he said.