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Iran nuclear deal

‘Impossible to imagine’ nuclear deal if Iran doesn’t release Americans: Sherman

Asked about the possibility of removing the IRGC from the foreign terrorist organization blacklist as part of the JCPOA deal, the US official remained tight-lipped.

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It will be “impossible to imagine” a nuclear deal with Iran if detained Americans are not released, a senior US official said Thursday.

As indirect talks on a new nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran appear to be heading for the finish line, one of the main sticking points remains the detained US citizens.

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Earlier this week, Iran released two British nationals after the United Kingdom paid millions of dollars, which Iran claimed the UK owed it due to a payment from Iran’s former monarch, the Shah, paid upfront for 1,750 Chieftain tanks and other vehicles. Almost none were delivered after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 toppled the US-backed leader.

But the US has, so far, been unable to secure the release of its detained citizens.

“It [detainees’ release] is separate and apart from the JCPOA. Though I must say it is impossible to imagine that we get a deal on the JCPOA and that those unjustly detained Americans don’t come home,” Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told Al Arabiya in an interview.

Sherman added: “It is a high priority for this administration to bring them home, to make sure that they’re safe and secure. There is no higher purpose that we have than to protect Americans.”

Sanctions relief and Russia

Sherman played down reports speculating that the US would waive sanctions to allow Russia to pursue a reported $10 billion contract with Iran’s atomic energy organization to expand nuclear sites in Iran.

“It makes no sense to me whatsoever,” Sherman told Al Arabiya.

Asked about the possibility of removing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from the foreign terrorist organization blacklist as part of the JCPOA, Sherman remained tight-lipped.

“I’m not going to get into the details of a negotiation, which is not final yet. I think it is in all of our interest to make sure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon. And that’s what the JCPOA is all about,” she said.

Sherman also said the US was closely coordinating with allies in the region, including Gulf countries, to make sure Iran stopped its “malign behavior in the region.”

“We understand what Iran does every single day. And we are consulting closely, and working closely with the GCC, with other countries in the Middle East, to stop such actions.”

Read more: New Iran deal ‘will not survive’: 49 Republican senators warn Biden

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