Iran has rejected accusations from anonymous United States and European officials that its latest position on nuclear deal negotiations has been negative.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Iran last week handed in its comments on a “final” text circulated by the European Union with a view to achieving a desirable outcome to the “marathon” of nuclear talks, which began in April 2021.
Kanani said that Iran had responded constructively to the US as part of negotiations aimed at restoring their 2015 nuclear deal, which Washington unilaterally withdrew from in 2018.
“We believe Iran’s response has been constructive, transparent and legal, and can create the grounds for a conclusion of the talks and for an agreement in a short amount of time if there is also mutual political will,” he said.
“Either way, lifting sanctions and [providing] economic benefits for the Iranian nation … are among our top goals.”
Iran and the US have been exchanging comments on the EU’s proposal for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is formally known.
Kanani was trying to counter reports that Tehran’s latest response was negative and therefore further complicating the indirect talks.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, had called Tehran and Washington’s first comments on the bloc’s text “reasonable” last month, but has yet to comment on the latest proposals.
Russia and China, two other signatories of the JCPOA, alongside France, Germany and the United Kingdom, have supported Iran’s latest comments on the text of the potential agreement.
The US must now respond to Iran’s latest comments, after which the back and forth dialogue could continue even as the US midterms elections in November approach quickly.
Qatar and Oman have continued to mediate and relay messages between the two, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaking to his counterparts in both nations to discuss the talks during the past week.
Meanwhile, Israel, the biggest opponent of the original deal and its revival, has been trying to influence the talks.
Iran’s regional arch foe sent David Barnea, the director of its spy agency Mossad, to Washington to hold meetings with senior security officials and politicians, and US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid re-emphasised a joint commitment against allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon last week.
Iran has maintained that its nuclear programme is strictly peaceful while it has ramped up its enrichment efforts.
A “safeguards” probe by the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), into traces of man-made nuclear material found at several Iranian sites remains on the table, and has been pointed to as a current stumbling block.
Iran has said that the probe needs to be resolved for good before there can be an agreement on the nuclear deal.