Iran, US nearing informal pact on nuclear capabilities: report

Iran, US nearing informal pact on nuclear capabilities: report
Iran would limit its nuclear capabilities, free American prisoners, and stop selling ballistic missiles to Russia under the reportedly 'imminent' pact.
2 min read
15 June, 2023
Talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal stalled last year [Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty]

Washington is negotiating with Tehran for a limited and informal pact on its nuclear program and other issues, Iranian, Israeli and US officials have reportedly said.

The US is seeking an 'informal, unwritten agreement' with Iran to limit its nuclear capabilities and free Americans imprisoned in Iran, The New York Times said Wednesday in a report citing Iranian, Israeli and US officials.

Iran would also stop attacking US interests in Iraq and Syria through its proxy groups and stop selling ballistic missiles to Russia, according to the report.

The talks and the main topics of discussion were confirmed by three senior Israeli officials, an Iranian official and a US official, The New York Times said.

Iranian officials described the talks as a "political ceasefire", the report said. Two Israeli officials described the deal as "imminent".

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Under the agreement, Iran would not enrich uranium beyond 60 percent. Nuclear experts say a uranium enrichment level of 90 percent is needed to make nuclear weapons. 

Inspectors from the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said earlier this year that they had found uranium enriched to 83.7% — a claim Iran swiftly denied.

Some of the Iran-US talks took place in Oman in the spring.

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Even if successful, the talks will have fallen short of a resurrection of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Under that agreement, Iran was to keep its uranium enrichment below 3.67% in return for sanctions relief.

Talks to revive the deal have been stalled for a year, with the US and Iran accusing each other of trying to renege on some of their commitments.

Germany, which was at the heart of negotiations for the 2015 nuclear deal, has blamed Iran for the failure to revive the agreement.

"Iran is not only violating the human rights of its own citizens but also continues to pursue its nuclear ambitions, producing ever more highly enriched fissile material," said in a new national security strategy report signed off on by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet on Wednesday.