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Speculation swirls of Iran deal resurrection as diplomatic activity intensifies

14 9 15
04.05.2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — A flurry of diplomatic contacts and reports of major progress suggest that indirect talks between the US and Iran may be nearing an agreement. That’s despite efforts by US officials to play down chances of an imminent deal that would bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

With the negotiations in Vienna on hiatus, the US and Britain on Monday denied Iranian reports that any agreement was at hand with Iran for a swap of American and British prisoners. Such an exchange could be a confidence-building measure to revive the nuclear deal.

A US return to the deal would be the biggest and most controversial foreign policy initiative in the early months of Joe Biden’s presidency. It would revive a deal that top Biden aides put together during their years in the Obama administration, only to see former US President Donald Trump pull out and try to prevent the US from ever returning. Rejoining it — and making the concessions required to do so — would enrage Republicans and likely unsettle Israel and Gulf Arab allies.

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Even as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab rejected the prisoner swap reports at a news conference Monday in London, senior American diplomats were in the Middle East meeting Gulf Arab leaders. And two of the nuclear deal’s biggest proponents in Congress — Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Chris Murphy — were touring the region.

Those discussions follow a week of top-level meetings in Washington between Biden; his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan; Blinken; his deputy, Wendy Sherman; special Iran envoy Rob Malley; and others with the head of Israel’s spy agency and Prime Minister Benjamin........

© The Times of Israel


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