Iran nuclear deal

EU priority to get US back to Iran nuclear deal: Spokesperson

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The European Union’s top priorities are to get the United States back into the nuclear deal with Iran and for Tehran to return to full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a spokesman told Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called a day earlier on the bloc's top envoy Josep Borrell to coordinate a synchronized return of Washington into the 2015 agreement and Tehran's full compliance with it.

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“The High Representative Josep Borrell as a coordinator of the nuclear deal is working very hard and he's in regular contact with partners from the JCPOA participating countries, but also within the new [US] administration, with the priority to ensure a possible return of the US back to the deal and return of Iran to the full compliance,” EU Spokesman Peter Stano said.

The EU, which coordinates implementation of the deal, has been scrambling along with world powers who signed it to save the pact since former US leader Donald Trump pulled out in 2018 and slapped tough sanctions on Iran.

US President Joe Biden has voiced support for returning to the deal but has insisted that Tehran first come back into compliance by reversing measures it took to protest the sweeping US sanctions.

Ned Price, the spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Tuesday that Washington would not budge on its demand for Tehran to return to full compliance with the JCPOA.

“This is a challenge we have to tackle immediately … and that is the broader challenge of ensuring Iran is not in a position to develop a nuclear weapon,” Price told reporters during his first press briefing.

For his part, Stano acknowledged that Iran is moving away from full compliance to the deal but said Tehran was still away from a “full breach.”

“To stay that there is a full breach, Iran would need to do more dramatic steps. For us, the most important thing is the assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, which still has full access, which still is able to verify everything that needs to be verified based on the deal,” Stano said.

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