Iran and USA 'to hold indirect nuclear talks in Vienna next week'

AUSTRIA-EU-IRAN-NUCLEAR-DIPLOMACY

The US State Department on Friday said the US has agreed to talks next week with European, Russian and Chinese partners to identify issues involving its return to the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, almost three years after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal.

"These remain early days, and we don't anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be hard discussions ahead". President Joe Biden has said the United States will rejoin the nuclear deal once Tehran returns to full compliance with its agreements under the deal.

"The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all United States sanctions, whether those which Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading", Khatibzadeh elaborated.

"Participants agreed to resume this session of the Joint Commission in Vienna next week, in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups", the Joint Commission said in a statement.

The US will not take part directly in the main negotiations since former president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, but the European Union said its mediator would hold "separate contacts" with officials from Washington in the Austrian capital.

Iran has said it wants the United States to lift all sanctions and rejected any "step-by-step" easing of the restrictions.

The United States will not take part directly in the discussions also involving China, Germany, Russia, and Britain.

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New President Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement on condition Iran first returns to respecting commitments it abandoned in retaliation for Trump pulling out and reimposing swingeing sanctions. "No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary", he added.

Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov said "the impression is that we are on the right track but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive efforts. The stakeholders seem to be ready for that".

Events since Trump pulled out of the deal complicate the United States' return.

This is the beginning of what is expected to be a long process of negotiations to bring the Iran and the USA back into compliance with the deal.

US officials had no immediate public comment, but Washington on Thursday welcomed the news that the Europeans would be meeting with the Iranians to try to get talks going again. The JCPOA is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran now has enough low-enriched uranium to convert to a higher level of enrichment and make a bomb.

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn't want to do. Under a last-minute agreement worked out during a trip to Tehran, however, some access was preserved.

As part of its ongoing violations of the JCPOA, Iran last month began restricting global inspections of its nuclear facilities. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the tapes, narrowing the window for a diplomatic breakthrough.

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