A revived Iran nuclear deal is “closer now than it was two weeks ago,” but gaps remain, a US State Department spokesman said.

“The deal is closer now than it was two weeks ago, but the outcome of these ongoing discussions is still uncertain as gaps remain,” Ned Price said at a State Department briefing.

In early August, the European Union put forward what its top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called the “final text” to restore the deal and called for responses from Washington and Tehran. Iran submitted its response last week; The US has not yet responded. Borrell said on Monday that Iran’s response was “reasonable.”

On Monday, Price said the US was still consulting, telling reporters, “We’re working as quickly as we can, as methodically as we can, and as carefully as we can to make sure our response is complete.” It takes into account the feedback from Iran and we will provide it to the EU as soon as we can.” He also said that the US is “transmitting (its) feedback directly and privately to the EU”, which acts as an intermediary between the two parties.

Price pointed out that Iran complicated the talks, noting that the US was ready to accept the EU’s “final text” agreement, but Iran “reacted with several comments.”

“That’s why it took us some extra time to look at these comments and determine our response,” he said, adding that “if there was a clear Iranian answer, a clear yes answer, I’m not sure we’d be back and forth.” like we are now.”

However, Price said the US is “emboldened by the fact that Iran appears to have given up on some of its impossible demands,” including the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations, but “there are there are still some unresolved issues that need to be addressed, some gaps that need to be addressed.”

He also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a speedy mutual return to compliance with the agreement, “knowing the stakes of the status quo,” namely, a short “breakthrough period” before Iran has enough fissile material needed to produce a nuclear weapon. A senior administration official said the Biden administration believes keeping the deal intact would extend the breakout time by months.

“The place where we are now, when Iran can produce enough material for a bomb within a few days or weeks, is very dangerous. senior director of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. “In my opinion, a six-month breakthrough period is sufficient. This will give the international community enough time to detect any Iranian attempts to break through, and time to try to resolve the issue diplomatically before considering the potential for a military option.”

Henry Rome, deputy head of research at Eurasia Group, told CNN that even if a deal is reached, Iran will likely “continue to do what they have been doing until the implementation process begins.”

“Then throughout this process, they will be required to take some kind of physical steps to stop producing certain types of materials, dispose of certain types of materials, export them or in other ways, dismantle some equipment and such steps,” he explained.

Price declined to say what “unresolved issues” remain. Rome told CNN that he believes “the two main stumbling blocks continue to be issues around Iranian economic guarantees, as well as trying to find a way to bring the circle closer to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards investigation.”

The IAEA, which serves as the UN’s nuclear observer, has demanded answers from Iran as to why traces of enriched uranium were found at previously unannounced nuclear research sites three years ago. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Becky Anderson of CNN On Monday, the agency said it would not end the investigation without “technically credible explanations” from Iran.

Rome noted that “the latest European draft included this language (on the IAEA safeguards investigation), the Iranians did not appear to mind it, although they did not necessarily accept it either.”

“It is also inextricably linked to this process, even if technically it is a separate process, because the Iranians have made it very clear that they will not move forward on the JCPOA if the issue of guarantees is still hanging there,” he said.

Adam Purahmadi of CNN contributed to this report.

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