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UPDATE 1-Iran welcomes nuclear diplomacy, urges U.S. to show interest

·2 min read

(Adds details, background)

DUBAI, July 27 (Reuters) - Iran welcomed diplomatic efforts to revive its 2015 nuclear pact with major powers on Wednesday, a day after the European Union's top diplomat proposed a new text to restore the agreement.

"Iran welcomes the continuation of diplomacy and negotiations," Iranian state media quoted Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as telling EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell by telephone.

"The United States always states that it wants an agreement, so this approach should be seen in the agreement and in practice," Amirabdollahian added. It was not immediately clear what he meant.

Borrell on Tuesday said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the 2015 deal under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump reneged on the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to violate the deal's nuclear limits.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal aimed to make it harder for Iran to amass the fissile material for a nuclear weapon, an ambition Iran has long denied, saying its atomic program was for peaceful purposes.

On Tuesday, the State Department said it was reviewing Borrell's proposal and would respond to the EU.

Borrell on Tuesday said the deal on the table reflected "the determination of all ... to ensure its sustainability, including the commitment of President Joe Biden and US assurances in this regard."

He appeared to refer to Biden's commitment, described in an October 2021 White House statement, "to return the U.S. to full compliance with the JCPOA and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same."

Separately, the White House declined comment on an Axios report quoting White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk as saying it was "highly unlikely" that the 2015 deal will be revived in the near future. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom, Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington and Arshad Mohammed in Saint Paul, Minn.; Writing by Arshad Mohammed Editing by Gareth Jones and Alistair Bell)