US and Iran to hold indirect talks on nuclear deal

While Iran rejected any direct talks with the United States, the State Department said that the US would participate through its European, Russian, and Chinese partners.

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On Friday, officials from both the United States and Iran made statements one after the other regarding the nuclear talks which would be held in Austria’s capital next week. The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the US would be engaged in talks through its European, Russian, and Chinese partners. Speaking on the negotiations next week, Ned Price said that “The primary issues that will be discussed are the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, and the relief steps that the United States would need to take in order to return to compliance as well.”

On the other hand, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran would participate in a meeting in Austria’s capital next week on the nuclear deal. However, the Iranian Foreign Minister stated that his country would not engage in any direct talks with the United States within the framework of the next week’s negotiations. Zarif called such talks as “unnecessary.” The next week’s meeting aims to bring a rapid conclusion that would contribute to lifting the sanctions, the Iranian FM said. Zarif spoke after the meeting in which Iran and other participants of JCPOA came together through a video conference on Friday.

It is expected that the meeting, which will be held in Vienna next Tuesday, would focus on issues regarding the mutual return of both the US and Iran to compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord. The United States had unilaterally withdrawn from the agreement and then imposed sanctions on Iran under Donald Trump’s presidency in 2018. As a response, Iran pulled out of implementing the articles of the agreement to increase pressure on the other participants of the deal.

Iran has stipulated the sanctions imposed on it be lifted before the US’ return to the JCPOA. On the other hand, US President Joe Biden, pledging the restoration of the deal in his election campaign, has wanted Iran to take ​the first step.

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