Iran Drops Another Key Demand as Prospects for Nuclear Deal Restart Increase

Iran has previously demanded that, as a condition of re-entering the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the International Atomic Energy Agency must close its investigation into undeclared nuclear materials found at Iranian facilities in 2019. But now Iran has refused that demand, a senior administration official said Tuesday.

The official stated that “reports that we have accepted or are considering new concessions to Iran as part of the re-entry into the 2015 nuclear deal are flatly false. It is Iran that has made concessions on critical issues.”
Reuters first reported development.

As CNN reported last week, Iran has also formally dropped its long-standing demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Iranians have also dropped demands to delist companies associated with the IRGC, CNN reported. The Trump administration designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in 2019 as part of a “maximum pressure campaign” imposed after Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018.

Officials said neither the IRGC’s demands nor the IAEA’s investigations were included in the text of Iran’s response last week to the European Union’s draft nuclear deal. However, it is possible that if Iran cooperates with the open IAEA investigation before a new deal is signed, that investigation could technically be closed by the time an agreement is formally reached.

During the talks, the US insisted both that the IRGC remain on the list and that the IAEA be allowed to continue its investigations, so the Biden administration sees the Iranian draft response as a significant concession. It is unclear whether Iran has kept its third key requirement, which is that the deal include a mechanism by which Tehran will be compensated if the future US president pulls out of the deal.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told CNN on Monday that the agency would “absolutely not” shut down its research, noting that “so far, Iran hasn’t given us the technically credible explanations we need to explain the origin of many of the uranium traces, the presence of equipment on the ground.”

“The idea that from a political point of view we will stop doing our job is unacceptable to us,” Grossi added.

In June, Iran retaliated against an IAEA investigation by removing surveillance cameras at key nuclear sites, preventing inspectors and negotiators from getting timely information about the country’s uranium enrichment program.

That camera is still off, and a senior administration official told CNN that if Iran wants to get back on the deal, it will have to agree to “comprehensive inspections” by the IAEA.

Revived Iran nuclear deal 'now closer than two weeks ago' but gaps remain, US State Department spokesman says

“If we come to an agreement to return to the agreement, Iran will have to take many important steps to dismantle its nuclear program,” the official said, including allowing the IAEA to “implement the most comprehensive inspection regime ever agreed, allowing it to detect any attempts Iran secretly build nuclear weapons. Much of this international surveillance will remain in place for an indefinite period of time.”

Iran will also be banned from enriching and stockpiling uranium beyond a very limited level, denying it has the material needed to build a bomb, and will not be allowed to maintain “the 20% and 60% enriched uranium that it is stockpiling today,” the official said. “. .”

The deal would also require the dismantling of “thousands of advanced centrifuges” that Iran operates, “including all of the centrifuges operating at Fordow’s fortified underground facility,” the official said. Strict restrictions on Iranian enrichment mean that even if Iran walks out of the nuclear weapons deal, it will take at least six months.”

On Monday, a US State Department spokesman expressed optimism about the prospects for resuming the deal.

“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.

Adam Purahmadi of CNN and Jennifer Hansler contributed to the story.

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