Iran nuclear
File photo of Iranian workers standing in front of Bushehr nuclear power plant. Image Credit: Reuters

Iran is seeking the closure of the UN nuclear agency’s investigation of its nuclear activities among other guarantees, in order to revive the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a senior Iranian official said on Monday.

“An end to the agency’s probes is part of the guarantees that we are seeking to have a sustainable and durable nuclear agreement,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani told a televised news conference.

Iran’s demand risks hurting the chances of saving the deal because Washington has rejected linking it to the agency’s investigation.

After months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, the nuclear deal appeared near revival in March. But negotiations broke down over several issues, including Tehran’s insistence that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) close its probes into uranium traces found at three undeclared sites before the nuclear pact is revived.

Iran has not received the United States’ official response to its last proposal on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, Kanani said.

“Iran is waiting to receive the response from other parties, notably that of the American government,” he said.

His remarks come after the United States last Thursday said Tehran’s latest response on reviving the 2015 accord was “not constructive”.

“We can confirm that we have received Iran’s response through the EU,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said late Thursday in Washington. “We are studying it and will respond through the EU, but unfortunately it is not constructive.”

Kanani said on Monday that Tehran had “never received a response... saying that its position was not constructive”.

He characterised Iran’s response as “constructive, clear and legal”.

“Iran is trying to cancel sanctions to economically benefit the Iranian nation and this is one of its top priorities,” Kanani said.

The European Union put forward on August 8 what it called a final text to restore the 2015 nuclear accord, which was abandoned by former US president Donald Trump in 2018.

Talks to revive the 2015 accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have been ongoing in Vienna since April 2021.

The deal granted Iran much-needed sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear programme to prevent it from acquiting a nuclear weapon, a goal that Tehran has denied pursuing.