US awaits 'constructive' response from Tehran on nuclear deal

State Department spokesperson Ned Price responded to questions about the Iranian foreign minister's statement that Tehran had put forward a new proposal on reviving the deal.

 US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, US, February 22, 2021 (photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL VIA REUTERS)
US State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks during daily press briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, US, February 22, 2021
(photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The United States said on Tuesday it awaits a constructive response from Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal without "extraneous" issues, a possible reference to Iran's demand its Revolutionary Guards be dropped from a US terrorism list.

"We await a constructive response from the Iranians, a response that leaves behind issues that are extraneous to the JCPOA," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, referring to the deal formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

In 2018 then-US President Donald Trump reneged on the deal, under which Iran restrained its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, prompting Iran to begin violating its core nuclear limits about a year later.

Speaking at a briefing, Price was responding to questions about the Iranian foreign minister's statement that Tehran had put forward a new proposal on reviving the agreement, which he did not address in detail.

Another State Department spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, denied the United States received any serious proposal from Tehran. Iran has declined direct talks with Washington about reviving the deal and transmits messages chiefly via European diplomats.

 The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER) The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/LEONHARD FOEGER)

"We have seen no substantive communication from Iran, but we are open to any initiative that would allow us to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, dropping issues that go beyond the JCPOA."

State Department spokesperson

"We have seen no substantive communication from Iran, but we are open to any initiative that would allow us to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, dropping issues that go beyond the JCPOA," said the spokesperson.

Talks in disarray

The pact seemed near revival in March but talks were thrown into disarray partly over whether the United States might remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which controls elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of a global terrorist campaign, from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

President Joe Biden's administration has made clear it has no plan to drop the IRGC from the list, a step that would have limited practical effect but would anger many US lawmakers.