Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Iran rejects US nuclear deal before it’s even offered

The Iranian rejection was the third time the Islamic republic had turned down a US offer to open talks about a new nuclear deal.

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Iran has rejected US President Joe Biden’s reported compromise proposal for a partial nuclear deal before he has even offered it.

Politico reported on Monday that Biden was preparing to offer Iran partial relief from sanctions in exchange for a partial suspension of nuclear activity.

Biden administration officials planned to put forward a new proposal to jump-start the talks with Tehran as soon as this week, two people familiar with the situation told Politico.

The proposal asks Iran to halt some of its nuclear activities, such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20% purity, in exchange for some relief from US economic sanctions, said one source, who stressed that the details are still being worked out.

However, the Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday that Tehran has already ruled out Biden’s proposal, saying it will not stop its 20% uranium enrichment before the US lifts all sanctions, Iranian state TV quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The Iranian rejection was the third time the Islamic republic had turned down a US offer to open talks about a new nuclear deal and the continuation of international sanctions against the regime.

The Biden administration has been seeking to engage Iran in talks about both sides resuming compliance with the deal which would make it harder for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

Earlier this year, Washington suggested that it would give Iran access to a small amount of its billions of dollars in frozen assets in exchange for Tehran stopping its 20% enrichment of uranium, one source confirmed.

Tehran refused what it saw as an unequal offer. It suggested that it would halt uranium enrichment for a month in exchange for Washington lifting all its sanctions.

The American side saw that as just a cheeky rather than a real counterproposal, the source said.

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