Iran nuclear deal

Iran says US lifting sanctions on IRGC a top priority in nuclear talks

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Lifting US sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is one of Tehran’s top priorities in nuclear talks with world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday.

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Removing US sanctions against the IRGC “is one of our main topics in the negotiations,” Amir-Abdollahian told state TV.

“The IRGC is one of the main establishments in the country… [removing sanctions against the IRGC] is one of our main issues,” he said.

Talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between the deal’s remaining signatories – Iran, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – have been taking place in Vienna for almost a year.

The US is participating indirectly in the talks due to Tehran’s refusal to negotiate directly with Washington.

The removal of the IRGC from the US’ foreign terrorist organization blacklist is reportedly one of the few remaining unresolved issues in the talks.

Washington has offered to drop the terrorist designation in exchange for a public commitment from Iran to de-escalation in the region, Axios reported earlier this month, citing Israeli and US sources.

The US designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organisation under former President Donald Trump in 2019.

Trump withdrew Washington from the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, responded by expanding its nuclear program, breaching most of the deal’s restrictions.

The Vienna talks, which began in April 2021, aim to bring Iran back into compliance with the deal and facilitate a US return to the agreement. The deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

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US to increase pressure on Iran if nuclear diplomacy fails: White House

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