JEDDAH: Iran gave the strongest signal yet on Friday that a new agreement to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions may be imminent.
An EU proposal to revive the original 2015 nuclear deal “can be acceptable,” a senior Iranian diplomat told the state news agency IRNA.
The EU said on Monday it had proposed a “final text” following four days of indirect talks between US and Iranian officials in Vienna. Foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said no more changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months, and he expected a final decision from the parties within a “very, very few weeks.”
The unidentified Iranian diplomat said Tehran was reviewing the proposal.
“Proposals by the EU can be acceptable if they provide Iran with assurance on the issues of safeguards, sanctions and guarantees,” the diplomat said.
Iran has sought to obtain guarantees that no future US president would renege on the deal if it were revived, as Donald Trump did in 2018 when he restored US sanctions on Iran.
However, his successor Joe Biden cannot provide such assurances because the deal is a political understanding and not a legally binding treaty.
Nevertheless, leading clerics close to the regime in Tehran are already preparing the Iranian people for the news that they have endured years of crippling economic sanctions for no apparent gain.
At Friday prayers in Tehran, imam Kazem Seddiqi said: “We insist on getting the necessary guarantees, the lifting of sanctions and verification, and if this is achieved, then our negotiating team will tell the people that sanctions have been lifted thanks to your resistance and power.”
Washington has said it is ready to quickly reach an agreement to restore the deal.
Iranian officials said they would convey their “additional views and considerations” to the EU after consultations in Tehran.
Nearly a year of talks on the deal in Vienna were thrown into dis- array over Iran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps from its list of terrorist organizations.