After 16 months of fitful, indirect U.S.-Iranian talks, with the EU shuttling between the parties, a senior EU official said on Aug. 8 it had laid down a “final” offer and expected a response within a “very, very few weeks.”
Iranian negotiators said Tehran’s “additional views and considerations” to the EU text would be conveyed later.
“Our answer will be given to the EU tonight at 12 midnight...There are three issues that if resolved, we can reach an agreement in the coming days,” Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said, suggesting Tehran’s response would not be a final acceptance or rejection of the EU proposal.
“We have told them that our red lines should be respected...We have shown enough flexibility...We do not want to reach a deal that after 40 days, two months or three months fails to be materialized on the ground.”
Amir-Abdollahian said that “the coming days are very important” to see whether the United States will show flexibility over the remaining three issues.
“It would not be end of the world if they fail to show flexibility...Then we will need more efforts and talks...to resolve the remaining issues,” he said.
“Like Washington, we have our own plan B if the talks fail,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump reneged on the deal reached before he took office, calling it too soft on Iran, and reimposed harsh U.S. sanctions, spurring the Islamic Republic to begin scaling back compliance with the accord.
“They need to adopt a realistic approach about guarantees. Regarding the two other remaining issues, they have shown some relative flexibility verbally, but it needs to be mentioned in the text,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said “relative progress” has been made and that an agreement can be reached if Tehran’s red lines are met.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Kanaani reiterated Tehran’s long-standing position that it aims to reach a “sustainable and good agreement to remove the unjust sanctions imposed on Iran.”
He cited “relative progress” in the latest round of the talks, but noted that “Iran’s legitimate demands” have not yet been fully met.
“We are close to an agreement, but it is conditioned on the consideration of Iran’s red lines and the ensuring of the country’s main interests.”