EXCLUSIVE: Iran reveals its concerns with final nuclear deal text
The final text of the Iran nuclear deal includes assurances from the US that it will lift sanctions on some Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked businesses and take a "positive stance" on resolving other issues, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication has revealed.
Iran responded to the European Union's final draft text to save a 2015 nuclear deal on Monday evening, an EU official said, which highlighted the main concerns in Tehran about the long-awaited agreement.
Sources close to the Iranian nuclear negotiations team said that a response from its Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday evening brought up three still unresolved issues.
This includes US pledges that it would be prepared to lift secondary sanctions on a number of companies affiliated with the IRGC and to take a positive stance on resolving issues around safeguards and disputes between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley promised that in the agency's board of governors meeting Washington would push for the safeguards issue to be closed, as long as the agency later confirmed that its differences with Tehran had been resolved," the source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The EU's text proposed a timetable for cooperation between Iran and the IAEA to resolve safeguard issues, which should be done by the upcoming meeting with the agency's governors next month.
Iran also asked Borrell for "more transparency on the two issues, and that American promises be put down in writing". Iran's response also showed a willingness to be flexible in order to solve its disputes with the IAEA, said the source.
Iran's primary concerns are for "stronger guarantees" for Iran's economy, the longevity of the nuclear agreement and that sanctions would be lifted so that foreign companies could do business in Iran.
Former President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, enacting tough sanctions on Tehran which battered its economy.
Tehran is concerned that a future US administration, perhaps under Trump again, could make a similar move and pull out of the deal again, plunging Iran into further economic chaos.
Iran also suggested "minor amendments on some terms and words used in the coordinator’s text, to prevent confusion and multiple interpretations".
The European coordinator said he would convey the US's response to Iran's proposals in the coming days.
The EU has been keen to reactivate the Iran nuclear deal, which it says is the best way to prevent Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.
Tehran says it has no intentions to weaponise its nuclear programme and is solely interested in creating alternative civilian nuclear energy sources.
The US has held months of indirect talks with Iran in Vienna on reviving the nuclear deal with reports this week that an agreement was on the horizon.