Iran’s nuclear deal’s fate ‘one big question mark’: Malley

TEHRAN, Aug. 20 (MNA) – US Special Representative for Iran’s Affairs Robert Malley claimed that ‘there is a big question mark’ about the final fate of JCPOA and Washington’s accession to the multilateral agreement.

“It’s just one big question mark,” he told NatSec Daily during an exclusive interview in his State Department office. Rejoining the multinational accord “is not something that we can fully control,” he said, citing a lack of engagement from the Iranians.

Negotiations between the United States, Iran and five world powers have proceeded fruitlessly since April. Tehran’s side won’t even speak directly with Washington’s and instead prefers working through intermediaries while in Vienna.

Should the United States and Iran fail to agree on terms in the coming months, the envoy says his team is preparing some contingencies. One is that Washington and Tehran sign a wholly separate deal, complete with different parameters than the current accord.

Malley does say that, in his mind, it’s only logical that “a return to the deal is in the cards,” since both the United States and Iran — even under President Raeisi's administration — have said that’s what they want. The delay, he claimed, is due to mistrust sowed during the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign and the political transition in Iran.

“But there is absolute justification to have a question mark, because if you haven’t reached [a deal] yet, the talks drag on. If Iran’s nuclear advances progress, and Iran continues to take provocative nuclear steps, not even mentioning their regional provocations … that pulls in the other direction” — meaning away from an agreement, Malley told NatSec Daily.

This is while that Spokesman of Iranian Foreign Ministry reacted to the latest IAEA report, noting that the nuclear programs and actions of Iran are in full compliance with the NPT and Iran's commitments.

Saeed Khatibzaded said, "Iran's compensatory JCPOA measures have been under the framework of the nuclear deal."

"The scaling down procedure has been in response to the widespread violation of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 by the United States and the non-full compliance of other JCPOA parties, especially the three European countries, to their obligations," he added.

He underlined that Iran will pursue its peaceful nuclear program solely on the basis of the needs and decisions of its government and within the framework of its safeguard obligations as far as the US and other parties refuse to fully comply with their JCPOA obligations.

He assured that in case the other parties return to their obligations under the JCPOA and Washington fully and effectively lifts unilateral and illegal sanctions against the Iranian people, Iran will return its compensatory measures.

The UN nuclear watchdog said in a report to member states on Monday seen by Reuters, that Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal despite Western warnings that such work threatens talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal.

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