No indication that Iran has softened its stance on nuclear probes, US says

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NEW YORK – Iran’s stance on the stalled nuclear talks appears unchanged after meetings between Iranian officials and European leaders on the sidelines of this week’s UN summit, a senior foreign ministry official said Thursday.

“In a nutshell, we hit a wall because of Iran’s position,” the official told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“There is nothing this week to indicate that they are willing to change,” the official said. “What we’ve seen is a doubling of their position.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in New York City on Monday with a delegation that included Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

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The Iranians refuse to negotiate directly with the United States and have not met this week with US special envoy to Iran Robert Malley. But they did hold other meetings with key players in the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Raisi met with French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as Josep Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign policy and the EU’s nuclear talks coordinator, Enrique Mora.

He also met his Swiss colleague, Ignazio Cassis, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly for a discussion that: including the JCPOA. As the US “protective force” in Iran, Switzerland has previously helped facilitate the release of US citizens detained in the country.

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Raisi’s meetings came as efforts to reinvigorate the ruptured nuclear pact have reached a stalemate. Iran has demanded that the UN nuclear watchdog known as the International Atomic Energy Agency close its probes to traces of uranium discovered at three of Iran’s undeclared nuclear sites. The IAEA has said it will not do so without “technically credible” statements from Tehran.

On Thursday, the senior State Department official said Iran’s demand for the IAEA is “the main” obstacle to closing a deal, but that the United States would not pressure the UN watchdog to approve it. years of research.

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“They are asking us and European countries to put pressure on the IAEA and its director general to close these investigations, which we will not do,” the official said.

Another sticking point in the negotiations has been Iran’s demand for a guarantee that future presidents will not abandon the nuclear deal, as former President Donald Trump did in 2018. The Biden administration says it will not hold the hands of a future president. can legally bind.

The official said on Thursday that Iran periodically raises the issue of guarantees in talks, but is not currently the focus of talks.

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