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August 26, 2022 12:47 pm
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Tehran Willing to Agree to Revised Nuclear Deal if US Is ‘Realistic,’ Iranian Minister Claims

avatar by Ben Cohen

Iranian and EU negotiators pose for a group photograph during negotiations in Vienna on a revived nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. Photo: official handout via Reuters.

The Iranian regime has signaled its willingness to agree to a revised version of the nuclear deal of 2015 that was abandoned by the US three years later, so long as the American side is “realistic.”

Speaking on an official visit to Zanzibar on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that talks in Vienna on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the technical name for the 2015 between Iran, the US and five other world powers — were in their “final stages,” but that the US needs to be “realistic” if an agreement is to be secured.

The foreign minister’s statements echo a speech delivered on Sunday by Iran’s hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, in which he stressed that the Islamic Republic “will not tie people’s livelihood to any external factor and will persevere in its effort to solve the problems facing the country and people” — a statement interpreted by Iran analysts as referring to Tehran’s historic enmity with the US.

Separately, Iran has attempted to refocus concerns about nuclear weapons upon Israel during a UN conference this week on disarmament.

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Addressing UN and international officials at a conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iranian envoy Majid Takht-Ravanchi called on Israel — a state Iran refuses to recognize — to sign the treaty. A commentary on Press TV, the regime’s English-language broadcaster,  praising the ambassador’s speech described the Jewish state as an “illegitimate entity [that] has, however, refused to either allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the NPT.”

The US has yet to formally announce its decision on a renewed nuclear agreement, despite having sent its response to Iran’s proposed revisions to EU negotiators earlier this week. At a press briefing on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel confirmed that if “Iran is prepared to fully implement its commitments under the 2015 deal, then we’re prepared to do the same.”

At the same briefing, Patel was asked whether US agreement would be conditioned on Iranian willingness to release four US citizens currently imprisoned in Iranian jails — Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, Baquer Namazi and Siamak Namazi. Patel’s answer suggested that the two issues were not being tied together by negotiators.

“We have two separate negotiations underway with Iran, one for a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and one on the release of all four U.S. citizens unjustly detained in Iran,” Patel said. “We continue … to approach these negotiations with the utmost urgency, and like I said, are urging Iran to do the same.”

Israel meanwhile has expressed its own concerns about the prospect of US accession to a revived deal. Speaking on Thursday, Mossad director David Barnea warned that an amended JCPOA would amount to a “strategic disaster” by granting Iran “a license to manufacture a bomb.”

On a visit to the US on Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz emphasized that Israel wanted to deepen its ties with the US when it came to countering Iranian influence in the region.

“We will continue to deepen our cooperation, expand the actions required to target Iranian proxies and ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon,” Gantz said following talks with top US military personnel at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa, Fl.

“We all understand the need to make sure Iran never has a nuclear umbrella under which it can spread terrorism and threaten the world and the Middle East,” Gantz asserted.

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