Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaking as President Ebrahim Raisi looks on. August 2021

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei speaking as President Ebrahim Raisi looks on. August 2021

Exclusive - Iran Undecided On Nuclear Talks As US Sets Immediate Deadline

Saturday, 02/26/2022

Meetings convened in Iran to come up with a response to Western proposals on a nuclear deal have ended without results, Iran International has learned.

Other information points to a deadline set by the United States, which the hardliner Iranian news website Mehr in Tehran has quickly denied.

Western diplomatic sources and sources in Iran have told Iran International TV correspondents that if remaining issues in the talks are not resolved in the next few days and an agreement not reached, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, will be deemed “dead.”

On the other hand, information obtained shows that meetings in Tehran after the return of chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani have ended inconclusively.

Sources in Iran’s foreign ministry have told Iran International that Washington had presented “an immediate” deadline to Iran for proposals for reviving the 2015 agreement submitted by “the West” – possibly meaning the US and the three western European signatories France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

These foreign ministry sources said that in one meeting, the Supreme National Security Council Friday, in the presence of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, did not reach consensus and took no decision over “a draft agreement presented in Vienna.” It was not clear which of the world powers in the Vienna talks, which include Russia and China, had endorsed the “draft agreement.”

The United States and its three European partners, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have not accepted Iran’s demand to provide guarantees regarding the permanent nature of the agreement and demands of economic nature Supreme Leader Khamenei has been insisting on.

One of the challenges in the talks has been Iran’s request for guarantees that the US would not again leave the JCPOA, and that Iran, as under JCPOA terms, would not be impeded in its economic relations internationally. The official news agency IRNA on Saturday once again highlighted this issue of guarantees.

The Biden Administration has said that constitutionally it cannot provide guarantees that the US would not leave the JCPOA. Neither the 2015 deal, nor the 2018 withdrawal, nor the many sanctions introduced by President Trump as executive orders after 2018, went to Congress for approval.

Iran International’s information indicates that Iran is insisting on the lifting of “all US sanctions” and “the closure of a pending case at the International Atomic Energy Agency” regarding alleged clandestine nuclear activities before 2003, when Iran reportedly imported machinery from the network of Pakistani scientist AQ Khan.

The US and its three European allies have been warning for months that time to reach an agreement in Vienna is limited and Iran must make a decision.

Tehran has been enriching uranium up to 60 percent since early 2021 and stockpiling fissile material. The West and other countries are concerned that this is taking the Islamic Republic closer to nuclear weapons or at least brings it to point of a nuclear threshold state.

A senior US State Department official on Friday told reporters that “significant progress” has been made in the past week or so, but “serious issues remain” unresolved.

It is not clear what impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have on the Vienna process, as Moscow has been playing an active role in the talks. The unprecedented crisis in the international order triggered by Russia’s actions could convince Iran to make a deal with the West or equally it could convince Tehran to insist on its demands, waiting to see how the unfolding events

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