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Iran Blames Washington For Delay In Talks But Says Deal 'Within Reach'

By RFE/RL April 04, 2022

Iran says the United States is to blame for a delay in continuing talks to finalize a nuclear deal with world powers that is "very much within reach."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on April 4 that Tehran "won't wait forever" after several last-minute snags threatened to derail months of efforts to revive the 2015 agreement, which curbed Iran's sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a briefing on March 22 that the onus is on Tehran "to make decisions that it might consider difficult."

"America is responsible for the halt of these talks ... a deal is very much within reach," Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference.

The biggest and most complicated stumbling block is reported to be Iran's demand that the United States drop the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) -- a branch of the Iranian armed forces that plays a significant role in the economy -- from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).

Tehran has said that the IRGC's removal from the blacklist is a "red line." Washington has not directly commented on the issue, although it said separate U.S. sanctions against the IRGC would remain in place under any agreement.

In the United States, the issue is controversial given that American officials have accused the IRGC of creating instability and supporting militant groups in the region. The IRGC is also in charge of Iran's controversial missile program.

Iran signed the landmark deal with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China in 2015. It allowed for the easing of sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programs.

But then-President Donald Trump in May 2018 pulled the United States out of the deal, saying the terms were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and also to punish Tehran for alleged support of extremist activity in the region.

Iran has denied it is seeking nuclear weapons, saying the program is for civilian purposes, and it has rejected accusations of support for extremists.

However, after Washington pulled out, Iran has breached limits set in the deal and has insisted the United States lift its sanctions before it returns to the accord.

With reporting by IRNA

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear- deal-talks/31784845.html

Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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