Iran says nuclear deal talks will run into September as Israel spy chief visits US

An EU draft text is regarded as a final push to conclude almost 18 months of efforts to resuscitate 2015 accord

Iran says it expects its talks on a revived nuclear and sanctions relief deal will run into September.  Reuters
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Iran said exchanges with the US over a European Union proposal to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers will continue into next month.

Iran will take “at least” until September 2 to respond to Washington’s comments on an EU-drafted text aimed at salvaging the pact, state-run Nour News said in a tweet on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Tehran continues to “carefully review the US’s response at an expert level” according to Nour, which is aligned to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

The EU’s draft text may be a final push to conclude almost 18 months of efforts to resuscitate a deal that former US President Donald Trump abandoned four years ago. Under the original agreement, sanctions on Iran’s economy were lifted and its oil sales permitted in exchange for curbs on the country’s atomic activities.

Concessions by Iran in recent weeks have led to hope that diplomats could close-in on a deal soon.

Meanwhile, the head of Israel's Mossad spy agency will visit the US in early September for talks on the possible revival of the Iran deal, an official told AFP on Sunday.

The visit is the latest in Israel's efforts to sway western powers against a deal to return to the 2015 deal.

Israel said an agreement would mean the funding of Iran-supported militants, while not preventing Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon, a goal Iran has always denied.

Mossad chief David Barnea will “be visiting Washington in a week to participate in closed-door meetings in Congress on the Iran deal”, a senior Israeli official told AFP without providing further details.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that Israel's “diplomatic fight” against the deal included its national security adviser and defence minister at meetings in the US.

“We are making a concerted effort to ensure the Americans and Europeans understand the dangers involved in this agreement,” Mr Lapid said, stressing what was signed in 2015 was “not a good deal,” and that the one currently being formulated entails “greater dangers”.

In 2018, Mr Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

His successor Joe Biden has sought to return to the deal and, after almost a year-and-a-half of talks, recent progress has put Israel on edge.

According to Mr Lapid, a new agreement would have to include an expiration date, and tighter supervision that would also “address Iran's ballistic missile programme and its involvement in terrorism throughout the Middle East”.

“We can reach such an agreement if a credible military threat is put on the table, if the Iranians realise that their defiance and deceit will exact a heavy price,” Mr Lapid said, adding that the army and Mossad had “received instructions from us to prepare for any scenario”.

On Wednesday, Mr Lapid claimed that a new deal would “give Iran $100 billion a year” that would be used by Iran-backed militant groups Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, and he said he was holding talks with the leadership of Britain, France and Germany on the issue.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 7:16 AM