Price: US to study Iran response, sanctions were not helpful

Ned Price

The US State Department Spokesperson says major issues related to the Iranian nuclear deal have been largely settled.

The US State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price, confirmed on Tuesday that the United States will continue to study Iran’s comments on the European Union’s “final” text regarding the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

During a press briefing, Price said that “we have received Iran’s comments on the EU’s proposed final text, and we’re in the process of studying them. We’re at the same time engaged in consultations with EU and our European allies on the way ahead.”

“We believe the big issues have been largely settled,” claimed Price, adding that Washington briefed its allies, including Gulf states and “Israel”, of its efforts and the details of the nuclear negotiations.

Price said the US has been “conveying our feedback privately to the EU, and we’ll continue to do that. We’re not going to detail that feedback.”

According to Price, the efforts to save the nuclear agreement with Iran are now in what should be the final stage, claiming that the Iranian nuclear program needs only weeks to build a nuclear weapon, thus indicating that the best option for the status quo is restoring the JCPOA.

The US official affirmed that what matters most for the US, its European allies, and “Israel” is that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, claiming that Washington and the international community would face a great challenge in this event.

The US Spokesperson said, “Our Gulf partners know that nothing would de-escalate tensions in the region in the way that Iran is permanently and verifiably barred from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

Price said his country will resort to Plan B “if the JCPOA proves not to be viable, and if we get to a point where the deal that is on the table is not in the international security interest.”

The US official pointed out that the US administration attempted to strengthen sanctions on Iran but concluded that the sanctions were not useful.

He claimed that President Joe Biden made it clear that the United States was looking to return to the nuclear agreement, adding that Washington prefers to have the means to monitor and verify the Iranian nuclear program.

Regarding Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), Price indicated that the demands to remove the IRGC from the sanctions list are not included in the nuclear agreement.

Price’s remarks come right after sources said the EU views Iran’s response to a proposed blueprint to revive the JCPOA nuclear deal as “constructive”.

Earlier, the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borell said, after receiving Iran’s response, “We are studying it and are consulting with the other JCPOA participants and the US on the way ahead.”

Last week, the European Union presented a “final” text after the indirect talks between US and Iranian officials in Vienna, which lasted for four days.

On Monday, the head of the delegation of Iran at the Vienna Talks on JCPOA Bagheri Kani said the Iranian negotiating delegation focused on obtaining the necessary and reassuring guarantees that Iran will benefit economically from the nuclear agreement.

The Supreme National Security Council of Iran held on Monday an extraordinary meeting chaired by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to discuss the Vienna negotiations, during which Bagheri Kani presented a comprehensive report on the nuclear talks to the Council.

Iran says an agreement could be reached, US not planning to relax enforcement of sanctions

In the same context, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani indicated that an agreement could be reached at the talks for the 2015 JCPOA agreement revival if red lines established by Iran are observed and Iranian interests can be guaranteed fulfillment. 

Similarly, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stressed that the final stage of negotiations is presently in its preliminary stages and that a deal is possible provided the US respects Iran’s red lines and guarantees that Iran would enjoy its economic benefits.

On the issue of easing sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a briefing that the United States is not planning to relax the enforcement of sanctions against Iran, including the “foreign terrorist organizations” designations and sanctions on the IRGC.

“If Iran wants these sanctions lifted, they will need to alter their underlying conduct. They will need to change the dangerous activities that gave rise to these sanctions in the first place,” Price claimed.

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