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Iran ‘serious’ about restoring nuclear deal

Tehran is in contact with the US, and Oman’s plan to salvage the 2015 agreement is still on the table, the foreign ministry says

A meeting of the joint commission on negotiations aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, Austria. ©  Handout / AFP / EU DELEGATION IN VIENNA

Iran is ready to seriously consider returning to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal if the other parties, including the US, will reciprocate, the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry has said. The signatories of the landmark agreement have been trying to revive it following Washington’s withdrawal in 2018.

According to a statement on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that Tehran remains in touch with the US and that the plan for salvaging the deal proposed by Oman “is still on the table.”

“If the other parties are ready, we are serious about returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the minister said.

He added that Tehran has had good consultations with Guterres on the JCPOA, particularly when it came to the prisoner swap between Iran and the US, as well as the release of the Middle Eastern country’s frozen assets in South Korea.

The JCPOA – which was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the EU – put certain restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear industry in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions. In 2018, however, then-US President Donald Trump torpedoed the deal by unilaterally withdrawing Washington from the agreement after denouncing it as fundamentally flawed.

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The parties engaged in talks to revive the deal in 2021 after US President Joe Biden signaled that Washington would like to return to compliance. Despite initial progress, however, the marathon negotiations reached an impasse, with Iran demanding guarantees that the US would not withdraw from the deal again. Meanwhile, Washington accused Tehran of not negotiating in good faith.

Despite these setbacks, Iran confirmed this summer that it had held indirect talks with the US in Oman on the nuclear deal, with the Arab state presenting its initiatives seeking to bring the two sides closer.

Earlier this week, Iran agreed to release five American citizens in exchange for the US releasing an equal number of Iranians. The deal also included the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue in South Korea, which has since been transferred to banks in Tehran.

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