US, Iran say they'll begin indirect talks on nuclear program

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses in a conference in Tehran Iran Tuesday Feb. 23 2021

"We do not anticipate presently that there will be direct talks between the United States and Iran through this process, though the United States remains open to them", he said.

China signed the deal with Iran on a regional trip by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who also visited Turkey and Saudi Arabia, allies of the United States.

There was "no need for any negotiations on America's return to the JCPOA", he added, referring to the nuclear agreement.

Participants will meet in the Austrian capital "to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups", a statement said.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said the agreement was a "roadmap" for trade, economic, and transportation cooperation, with a "special focus on the private sectors of the two sides".

The minister elaborated that the talks will focus on lifting sanctions against Iran in the shortest time possible in exchange for Iran "ceasing [the] remedial measures" it has introduced over the last two years in light of the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA.

World powers, Iran discuss US return to nuclear deal in EU-mediated talks

"Tehran does not see the necessity, benefit, or advantage in holding a meeting before the sanctions are lifted and everyone returns to abiding by the nuclear agreement", he said.

In a tweet, Zarif said the aim of the Vienna session would be "rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures".

"In this context, the coordinator will also intensify separate contacts in Vienna with all JCPOA participants and the United States".

The body that oversees the implementation of the JCPOA has been under threat since then-US president Donald Trump pulled out in 2018 and Iran began to resume nuclear activities it had scaled back.

Iran's most recent breaches of the deal are seen as part of a campaign to pressure US President Joe Biden to make the first move in reviving the JCPOA. Japan, South Korea and India, all aligned with the United States, mostly complied with Trump's sanctions.

"Beijing, of course, has no interest in seeing Iran develop a nuclear weapon, and the profoundly destabilizing impact that would have in a region upon which China does depend". It will then hand them over to the Vienna-based United Nations atomic watchdog if it is granted sanctions relief.

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