Iran Offers to Honor Nuclear Deal in Return for $15 Billion in Payments

Ayatollah Khamenei and Donald Trump
Iranian Supreme Leader Office via AP/AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Iran said Wednesday it will honor the 2015 Obama-negotiated JCPOA nuclear agreement if it can sell its oil on the open market or get “$15 billion over four months.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi made the offer ahead of a looming deadline set by Iran to further reduce its commitments under the nuclear accord.

The agreement — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — has been in abeyance since the United States withdrew in May last year as part of a campaign promise kept by U.S. President Donald Trump.

It was the product of protracted negotiations led by then-Secretary of State John Kerry and was widely viewed as the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy achievement. By the terms of the agreement, Iran would accept restrictions to and inspections of its nuclear program designed to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for the cessation of the western sanctions crippling their economy.

The accord is still backed by Britain, France and Germany.

France has since been trying to convince the U.S. to offer Iran some sort of relief from sanctions it has reimposed on the Islamic republic since its pullout.

“Iran… will return to full implementation of the JCPOA only if it is able to sell its oil and to fully benefit from the income from these sales,” said Araghchi.

“The French proposal goes in that direction,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Araghchi, speaking days after leading an economic delegation to France, ruled out any renegotiation of the JCPOA, but said Iran was open to talks on how to implement it better in return for U.S. dollars.

“Returning to full implementation of the JCPOA is subject to receiving $15 billion over a period of four months, otherwise the process of Iran reducing its commitments will continue,” he said.

But Araghchi cast doubt on the likelihood of an agreement being reached before the deadline set by Iran.

“I don’t think the European countries will be able to take an effective step before Friday,” he said.

AFP contributed to this story

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