Monday, December 11, 2023

US says ‘weeks, not months’ remain for salvaging JCPOA

Negotiators between Tehran and the world powers have just weeks, not months, to reach an agreement on rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the US State Department has announced. Iran has rejected US officials’ remarks about a deadline for reaching an agreement and stressed the country is only after a good agreement.

“On the timeframe, I would make a couple points. You’ve heard from us that the runway is short. The runway is very, very short,” Spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.

“We are not talking about a protracted period of time that remains. We are talking about potentially weeks, not months,” he added.

“Second, it is impossible for us, at least at this point, to point out a date on the calendar and say that is the deadline,” he continued.

Tehran says the Iranian negotiators in Vienna talks on removal of US sanctions will continue their presence in the Austrian capital as long as needed and will not pay attention to the deadlines set by the other sides.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China — began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing the sanctions after the US voiced its willingness to return to the agreement.

During the seventh round of the Vienna talks, the first under President Ebrahim Raeisi, Iran presented two draft texts which address, separately, the removal of US sanctions and Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. Tehran also said it was preparing a third draft text on the verification of the sanctions removal.

The eighth round of talks kicked off in Vienna in late December. The negotiations seek to restore the JCPOA in its original form and bring the US back into the agreement.

Iran insists that the talks must lead to the removal of all American sanctions that were imposed against Tehran following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the landmark agreement in May 2018. Tehran has also demanded credible guarantees that Washington will not abandon the deal again.

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