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Iran has accused the United States of procrastinating on the nuclear deal that the two are trying to negotiate with the help of the European Union.
"The Americans are procrastinating and there is inaction from the European sides. ... America and Europe need an agreement more than Iran," Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told media as quoted by Reuters.
Washington has denied the accusation, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying, "The notion that we have delayed this negotiation in any way is just not true."
The two sides are currently mulling over a final proposal submitted to them by the European Union earlier this month. Some of the sticky points appear to have been resolved, with Iran seemingly ready to drop a demand for the U.S. to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its terrorist organization list.
However, not all of these points have been resolved, and both sides have indicated that a deal is still as uncertain as it has been for the last 16 months that the EU-brokered negotiations have been going on.
"That's [Iran dropping its demand] part of the reason why a deal is closer now than it was two weeks ago. But the outcome of these ongoing discussions still remains uncertain as gaps do remain," Reuters quoted Ned Price as saying.
The Iranian side, meanwhile, seems insistent on receiving guarantees that a potential deal would outlast the U.S. administration that seals it.
"We seek a good agreement which would ... be long-lasting," Kanaani said. "We won't be bitten twice."
A deal with Iran will lift U.S. sanctions and allow the country to resume exports of crude oil in greater volumes at a time when Europe is scrambling to find a replacement for Russian crude. Instead, Europe has been raising the volumes it buys from Russia to stock up ahead of the embargo due to enter into effect later this year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.