US, Iran to start indirect talks to salvage nuclear deal

US, Iran to start indirect talks to salvage nuclear deal

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Brussels: The United States and Iran will hold an indirect dialogue in Vienna next week. This is the spearhead of the European Union’s efforts to get President Joe Biden’s government to re-reach a nuclear agreement.

The European Union said after the video conference that participants in the Tehran nuclear ambition agreement-including China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom-will meet face-to-face in the Austrian capital on Tuesday.

The U.S. will not participate directly, but the U.S. delegation will attend for the first time since former leader Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

The European Union stated that its mediators will maintain “individual contact” with the United States in Vienna.

After arduous negotiations in the 2015 agreement, Iran accepted the restrictions of the international nuclear program to alleviate concerns about its possible acquisition of atomic weapons in exchange for international sanctions.

Biden has agreed to rejoin the agreement on the condition that Iran first return to respect the promise it gave up in retaliation for Trump’s withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions.

Tehran stated that Washington must end the sanctions before it can take any action to restore the status quo, and refused to negotiate directly with the United States.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted the aim of the talks was to “rapidly finalise sanction-lifting and nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures”.

“No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary,” he wrote on Twitter.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price called the Vienna talks a “healthy step forward” and said Washington “remains open” to a direct encounter with Tehran.

He cautioned that “these remain early days, and we don t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead”.

The deputy State Department spokeswoman, Jalina Porter, said sanctions relief steps will be “up for discussion” but declined to elaborate further.

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