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EghtesadOnline: The fact that dialogue and exchange of messages is still underway through intermediaries indicates that all JCPOA parties see a return to the deal possible in technical terms, the diplomat said.

Restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal is possible both technically and diplomatically, a senior Iranian diplomat said.

“Based on the same view, negotiations have been conducted and good agreements have been reached,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said at a regular press briefing on Monday, IRNA reported.

He added that the negotiating parties can move on to the stage of conclusion and implementation of the deal, but western parties, particularly the United States, are dragging out.

The 2015 deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed between Iran and the six world powers to restrict the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.

It unraveled when the US pulled out in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions that prompted Iran to row back on its commitments.

Negotiations began in early 2021 to work out how both sides can resume compliance, but have been stalled since last August over final differences, with both sides blaming each other for the stalemate.

Kanaani said, however, that the fact that dialogue and exchange of messages is still underway through intermediaries indicates that all parties see a return to the deal possible in technical terms.

“We hope that political determination will join this technical possibility, so that we can see the faithful return of all parties, especially the US, to the implementation of the JCPOA,” he said.

Iran says it is ready to resume and conclude the talks within the framework of its red lines, but US officials have been saying in recent months that the nuclear deal is no longer their top priority with Iran.



Preventing Hurdles  

Kanaani was later asked about the latest developments of Iran’s cooperation with the Atomic Energy Agency within the framework of an agreement in March.

He stressed that Iran seriously pursues the policy of resolving issues and clearing up misunderstandings with the agency.

“Our policy is not to allow allegations about Iran’s peaceful nuclear activity to become a hurdle in the way of the country’s cooperation with the IAEA,” he said.

The IAEA reported in late February that it has detected uranium enriched to nearly 84% at Iran’s underground Fordow nuclear site, after it discovered an unannounced change to the interconnections between the two cascades, or clusters, of centrifuges at the facility.

Iran dismissed reports about changes in the interconnections, saying it was a “mistake” by the inspector.

It also said unintended fluctuations in enrichment levels may occur and are normal, but it is the stocks of end product that should be assessed.

A delegation from the agency traveled to Tehran to hold discussions with Iranian officials, followed by the director general’s visit in March which resulted in a joint agenda for measures to facilitate bilateral cooperation.

Kanaani said Iran is pushing ahead with the executive measures determined in the roadmap agreed with the agency in March.

He refused to provide details, saying further information would be released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran when it sees fit.

“In general, we believe the process is fortunately making headway,” he said.



Improper Language

On the possibility of the return of international sanctions on Tehran, Kanaani said Iran is not willing to decide and act based on presumptions and predictions.

He underlined the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities, stressing that the program is pursued within the framework of cooperation with the IAEA.

The issue has recently been raised by the European parties to the JCPOA, namely France, Germany and Britain, known as the E3.

They have held a session with ten select members of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the possibility of triggering the snapback mechanism of UNSC Resolution 2231 to restore international sanctions on Iran in case it exceeds nuclear red lines.

Kanaani had earlier warned against such illogical measure, saying Tehran would react.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has also said recently that Washington will stand by its statement that Tehran can never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, and will take any necessary action, including recognizing Israel’s freedom of action.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said this statement is another indication that the US holds responsibility for Israel’s destructive measures in the region, and with regard to Iran in particular.

“They have admitted to their totally wrong policy of exiting the JCPOA, but are now using improper language instead of adopting a constructive approach and making up for that mistake,” he said.

While asserting its inalienable right to peaceful nuclear activity, Iran will severely respond to any act of aggression, making its perpetrators regret, he added.

Israel has in the past targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities and assassinated its nuclear scientists several times, according to Iranian officials.