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Iran to consider direct talks with US, says Amir-Abdollahian

Iran's foreign minister has said that Tehran is willing to engage in direct talks with Washington if negotiations to revive the Iranian nuclear deal reach an advanced stage requiring such dialogue.

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Iran’s foreign minister has said that Tehran is willing to engage in direct talks with Washington if negotiations to revive the Iranian nuclear deal reach an advanced stage requiring such dialogue.

The remarks by Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, which came on Monday, emerged as US officials have been urging direct negotiations to restore the 2015 accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

During a news conference in the Iranian capital, Tehran, Amir-Abdollahian expressed that “reports saying that Iran and the US are directly negotiating with one another are untrue… Though, if they get to a stage where reaching a good deal with strong guarantees necessitates direct talks with the US, we will consider it.”

Previously, Iran ruled out direct meetings with the US which has resulted in the two sides negotiating indirectly in Vienna to revive the deal.

In 2018, the US, under the presidency of former US President Donald Trump, withdrew from the JCPOA and started a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran, which responded by advancing its nuclear program well beyond the limits set by the deal.

The new US administration under Joe Biden has pledged to restore the deal, though several rounds of talks in the Austrian capital have failed to secure a path back into the agreement thus far.

The previous day, Washington’s lead negotiator Robert Malley said that, while American diplomats are working to restore the nuclear agreement, they are also pushing for the release of four US citizens imprisoned in Iran. The US sees these citizens as hostages.

Malley underlined: “I will say it is very hard for us to imagine getting back into the nuclear deal while four innocent Americans are being held hostage by Iran.”

On Monday, Tehran rejected linking the nuclear talks to the prisoners’ release through a statement by Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh.

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