Nuclear talks in Vienna
Nuclear talks in ViennaHandout, Reuters

Iran has officially dropped a key "red line" demand that had been a major sticking point in efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.

The official said that, in its Monday response to a draft nuclear deal agreement proposed by the European Union, Iran did not demand that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps be removed from the State Department's list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

"The current version of the text, and what they are demanding, drops it," the official told CNN, noting that the US had repeatedly and consistently rejected the demand. "So if we are closer to a deal, that's why."

The Iranians also dropped demands related to delisting several companies tied to the IRGC, the official said.

The official added that "the President has been firm and consistent that he will not lift the terrorism designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps."

At the same time, the official said that while a deal is now "closer than it was two weeks ago, the outcome remains uncertain as some gaps remain. President Joe Biden will only approve a deal that meets our national security interests."

Iran scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal, in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018, but has held several rounds of indirect talks with the US on a return to the agreement.

The most recent round of talks concluded in early August, as the parties closed a final text and key negotiators prepared to consult with their capitals.

Those talks took place following a proposal submitted on July 26 by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who said the proposal was a “final draft”.

While the US does feel one major obstacle has been removed, there are still some other sticking points, CNN noted in Friday’s report. Those include Tehran's desire for a guarantee that it will be compensated if a future US president pulls out of the deal, and its demand that a three-year-old probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency into its nuclear program be shut down.

The Biden administration's position on those issues has not changed, officials told CNN. Iran still has to explain to the IAEA why undeclared nuclear material—traces of uranium—were found at Iranian sites in 2019, the officials said. And the US has also made clear to Iran that it can't bind future administrations to the deal, nor promise compensation should a US president ever withdraw, the officials said.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)