In response to Iran International, US State Department said if Iran is ready to drop demands beyond the JCPOA, Washington can return to the deal “very swiftly”.

Answering a question by our correspondent Samira Gharaei at the State department briefing on Tuesday about claims by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that the Islamic Republic has proposed new initiatives aimed at reviving the nuclear deal, spokesman Ned Price implicitly confirmed the news but avoided directly commenting on Iran's proposals. 

Price reiterated that Washington and its European partners are ready to conclude an agreement in Vienna for the mutual compliance with the JCPOA, noting that for that to happen, “Tehran needs to decide to drop demands that go beyond the scope of the JCPOA”, suggesting that the new proposals by Tehran include demands extraneous to the 2015 accord. 

He confirmed that Tehran and Washington are engaged in indirect regular contact via Enrique Mora, the European Union coordinator for the Iran nuclear talks, saying, “We await a constructive response from the Iranians, a response that leaves behind issues that are extraneous to the JCPOA.” 

Iran International’s correspondent Samira Gharaei during a press briefing of US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on June 14, 2022

Earlier in the day, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization released a copy of its answers to IAEA questions about origins of uranium found at three undeclared locations, saying “sabotage” is the only explanation. 

The document that was released to the media on Tuesday was earlier submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which rejected the explanations as "technically not credible".

Iran agreed March 5 to provide written explanations by March 20 of long-standing issues in its nuclear work before 2003, and to clear up remaining queries by June 21. The latest quarterly report by the UN watchdog expressed dissatisfaction with Iran’s response to agency over sites not declared as part of the nuclear program where inspectors detected traces of uranium. This led to a resolution critical of Iran’s nuclear cooperation by the agency’s board of governors on June 8. 

In its answers, Iran maintained that the only plausible explanation for such traces is probably sabotage by foreign elements at Marivan, Varamin and Turquzabad sites, pointing out that the Varamin center, near the capital Tehran, was "never" used for nuclear activities.  

Iran said the IAEA’s claims about storage of nuclear material and/or conduct of nuclear-related activities, at Varamin are not supported by valid proofs and are misleading, noting that “the initial activities conducted in this location had been exploitation of sodium sulphate from the soil and water of the surrounding region.” 

For Marivan, which is a misnomer as the site is located near the city of Abadeh in the southwestern Fars province, Iran said the origin of the particles is "unknown" and insists the site was used for "the exploitation of fireclay through a contract with a foreign company decades ago" hence the IAEA’s “conclusion is absolutely false, unrealistic and biased.”

Iran claims it carried out its own investigation in Turquzabad and "did not find the origin of the particles" reported by the IAEA. 

Later on Tuesday, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, said that Iran’s contacts with the International Atomic Energy Agency are still underway, reiterating that Iran will act based on the safeguards protocol. 

The resolution called on Iran to engage with the IAEA, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, without delay and expressed “profound concern” at Iran’s failure to satisfy the agency over the traces of uranium.

Following the resolution, Iran retaliated, telling the IAEA it plans to remove more monitoring equipment, but intends to maintain a basic level of monitoring and inspectors’ access as required under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). 

The resolution comes with year-long talks paused since March between Iran and five world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

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