Nuclear talks: Iran offers concession on IRGC terror designation for sanctions relief

Tehran has dropped its condition that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) be dropped from Washington’s list of terror groups in return for sanctions relief in order to conclude the stalled efforts to revive the nuclear deal, sources told Middle East Eye.

The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed between Iran and the United States during the administration of Barack Obama to limit Iran’s nuclear programme in return for US sanctions relief.

But in 2018, then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the deal and reimposed the sanctions.

After Joe Biden came to power last year, talks to revive the deal restarted, but have been stalled since March as Iran demanded the White House reverse Donald Trump’s April 2019 decision to designate the IRGC as a foreign terror organisation (FTO).

The US administration has so far rejected this Iranian demand, describing it as “beyond” the deal.

Now, the IRGC listing is understood to be the final remaining impediment to a negotiated return to the deal, which many say is the only path towards keeping Iran away from obtaining an atomic bomb.

While chances for the revival of the JCPOA seem to be slim, a source told Middle East Eye that Iran, in a new proposal, has dropped its IRGC demand, but has called for lifting of sanctions imposed by the US against Khatam-al Anbiya Central Headquarters, an economic arm of the IRGC, and a few other entities.

Another source told MEE that the US has yet to respond to the offer, which is a “middle way” solution.

However, statements by US officials suggest the US is not in favour of the new proposal. On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated: “Tehran needs to decide to drop issues that are extraneous to the JCPOA.

“We believe that if Iran makes this political decision, we’ll be in a position to conclude and to pursue a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA very swiftly,” he said.

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