The United States and Iran said Friday they will begin indirect talks with other world powers to try to bring the two countries back to an agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program, nearly three years after President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the deal.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the resumption of negotiations, scheduled for Tuesday in Austria, was a positive step. But he added that these are still early days, we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as arduous discussions lie ahead.
The agreement on the start of multilateral talks for Iran and the United States to overcome their differences over a return to the 2015 pact came after negotiations brokered by other countries participating in the deal.
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Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 and his successor Joe Biden has said rejoining is a priority for his administration. The Biden administration have differed on the conditions for that to happen, including the timing for lifting sanctions against Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately stressed that a meeting between Iranian and U.S. officials had not been planned.
Zarif said in a tweet that the aim of the session in Vienna would be to quickly finalize nuclear and sanctions lifting measures for the organized removal of all sanctions, followed by the cessation of Iran’s corrective measures .
Iran and the powers participating in the deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons said Friday they are ready to welcome the United States back into the pact.
The group including the European Union, China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran noted that the participants recognized the possibility of a full U.S. return to the JCPOA, and stressed their readiness to address it positively in a joint effort, referring to the agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for short.
The group emphasized the commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discuss modalities to ensure a return to its full and effective implementation, the communiqué issued after a virtual meeting noted.
The countries will resume negotiations on the 2015 agreement next week in Vienna to clearly identify the lifting of sanctions and the implementation of nuclear measures.”
U.S. officials did not immediately comment, but, on Thursday, Washington praised the news that the Europeans would meet with the Iranians to resume talks.
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Then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 and his successor Joe Biden has said rejoining is a priority for his administration. The Biden administration have differed on the conditions for that to happen, including the timing for lifting sanctions against Iran.
The statement on Friday from the EU-chaired meeting said the group’s coordinator will also intensify separate contacts in Vienna with all participants in the nuclear deal and the United States.
According to Iranian state television, Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s nuclear negotiator at the virtual meeting, said during Friday’s discussions that any U.S. return to the nuclear pact does not require negotiation and the path is clear.
The U.S. can return to the deal and stop violating the law in the same way it withdrew from the deal and imposed illegal sanctions on Iran, Araghchi said, according to Iranian television.