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Iran ready for ‘good’ nuclear deal, blames US for stalemate

Saeed Khatibzadeh (right). (Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran says it’s prepared to return to nuclear talks in Vienna to conclude a “good deal” with world powers and suggested the United States was to blame for the current impasse.

The comments, from an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, follow official U.S. comments last week urging a constructive response from Tehran to nuclear negotiations without “extraneous” demands.

“Even today, we are ready to return to Vienna to reach a good deal if Washington fulfills its commitments,” ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a televised news conference on June 20.

The European Union’s lead coordinator for the indirect U.S.-Iranian talks to restore the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and major world powers from 2015 cited “remaining gaps” between the sides in March.

Months of inaction and increased international isolation of Iranian ally Russia since the Kremlin attacked Ukraine in February have dampened hopes for a new deal that slowly emerged after another lull accompanying the election last year of hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The recent U.S. warning was a possible reference to Tehran’s demand that its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the elite branch of Iran’s armed forces with major economic ties and political influence, be taken off a U.S. “terrorist” list.

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal in 2018 doomed the deal in its original form and sparked Iranian officials’ gradual break with compliance.

Tehran recently suggested it could still return to compliance if a new deal is struck, but it has insisted the United States must move first.

Khatibzadeh confirmed on June 20 that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was expected to visit Tehran at the end of this week.