Iran has done nothing to deserve a resumption of the nuclear talks, Donald Trump’s former State Department spokesman said Friday, when she attacked Joe Biden for agreeing to resume talks.
US and Iranian diplomats will participate in talks in Vienna on Tuesday to bring Tehran into line with the controversial 2015 nuclear deal.
The deal was negotiated under President Barack Obama and torn apart by Trump.
Morgan Ortagus, who was spokesman for Mike Pompeo’s team as of 2019, said Biden was misguided in restarting the talks.
Morgan Ortagus, spokesman for the State Department under Trump, criticized the talks in Iran
Officials from Tehran and Washington will travel to Vienna next week as part of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, although they will not hold direct talks, diplomats said Friday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is depicted on the left
“Iran has done nothing in recent months, since this new administration took power, to earn relief from sanctions or to earn some sort of deal from the United States,” she told Fox News Friday night.
She said the Biden government lived in the past and failed to realize the current reality in the region.
“I think what is fundamentally happening here is you see that this government doesn’t seem to understand how much the Middle East has changed in the last four years,” she said.
‘We had four peace agreements between Arab states and the State of Israel.
“And so the region has fundamentally changed, but this new administration, because all of their political appointees worked in the Obama administration, they seem determined to repeat what they did four years ago without realizing how much the Middle East has changed.”
The talks are seen as a first step and, in sign of tightrope diplomats, Iran rejected any direct meeting with the US on Friday.
The US team is expected to sit in one room and the Iranians in another, with the Europeans shuttling between them.
“ The United States will not attend any meeting in which Iran is present, including the Joint Committee meeting … and that’s for sure, ” Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said, according to the ministry’s website. .
While Tehran has ruled out direct talks for the time being, it has agreed to a meeting that could be the first step in bringing all parties back to the rules.
Diplomats from the US, Iran, France, Germany, UK, Russia, China and the European Union will all be in attendance.
Trump campaigned against the deal in 2016 and withdrew in 2018, calling it “ the worst deal ever negotiated. ”
Trump has re-imposed sanctions on Iran as part of his new ‘maximum pressure’ campaign in hopes of driving Tehran back to the negotiating table.
The purpose of the indirect talks is to “identify the issues involved in a reciprocal return to compliance,” a State Department spokesman told Fox News.
Why Donald Trump withdrew from the ‘terrible’ Iran nuclear deal that Barack Obama negotiated
Former President Donald Trump attacked the Iran nuclear deal during his 2016 presidential campaign.
He called it the “worst deal ever negotiated” and repeatedly went after the Obama for approving the repayment of about $ 1.7 million in money plus interest that had been frozen after the Iranian revolution.
He echoed complaints from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the deal did not include sufficient verification of enrichment activities it allowed, albeit with restrictions.
The 2015 deal removed a number of sanctions imposed on Iran over a period of years in the midst of Iran’s nuclear activities and missile launches. Iran maintained that its nuclear program was peaceful, but the US and Israel have long viewed a nuclear Iran as a serious threat to its neighbors.
After taking office, some of his advisers urged him to try to keep the deal intact.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should never have been closed,” Trump said in 2018 when he announced that the US was withdrawing.
He called the agreement, negotiated by a team led by former Secretary of State John Kerry, and working with European allies and UN Security Council members, including China and Russia, a “ horrible one-sided deal that should never have happened. made. ‘
Instead, Trump relied on a new ‘maximum pressure’ campaign aimed at getting Iran back to the table to negotiate a stronger deal by reimposing sanctions.
Iran announced plans to resume enrichment and set in motion a series of measures and US efforts to try to punish Iran for its movements.
Relations hit rock bottom in 2020 when Trump ordered an air strike that knocked out Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Trump said he was “plotting imminent and sinister attacks” and that the leader of the Quds force had been involved in attacks on US forces in the region.
These discussions will be structured around working groups that the EU will form with the other participants in the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], including Iran.
“ We do not currently expect any direct talks to take place between the United States and Iran through this process, although the United States remains open to them. ”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted about the personal talks.
Goal: Rapidly finalize sanctions and nuclear measures for choreographed lifting of all sanctions, followed by a cessation of recovery measures by Iran. No meeting between Iran and the US. Redundant.’
The announcement of the talks comes after Biden launched an airstrike on Tehran-backed militias in Syria in late February.
He said at the time that it was a warning to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to “be careful.”
Biden campaigned to reseal the deal, but after Iran returned to living up to its restrictions.
Its security team has said it wants to negotiate longer-term provisions and curtail Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Iran is holding its presidential election in June, with the aim of trying to force progress on the calendar.
Biden has said he wants to get the deal back, but Washington and Tehran disagree on who should take the first step.
The US has opposed Tehran’s demands to lift sanctions first to begin talks.
“Iran and the US will be in the same city, but not in the same room,” said a European diplomatic source.
A Western diplomat said a shuttle diplomacy approach would be adopted.
Western officials have said a step towards a breakthrough came when European powers in contact with Washington agreed to bring Tehran $ 1 billion in oil revenues frozen by South Korea.
They could use it to buy humanitarian items, the report said.
Biden issued a warning to Iran last month after authorizing US air strikes in Syria, warning the rival not to support proxies or militias that threaten US interests.
‘You cannot act with impunity. Be careful, ”Biden said when asked what message the strikes were sending.
The talks will seek to establish negotiating lists of sanctions that the United States could lift and the nuclear obligations that Iran would have to comply with, the EU official said, establishing a step-by-step framework that could result in resumed talks.
Those lists “should get married at some point. Ultimately, we approach this in parallel. I think we can do it in less than two months, ”the official said.
He spoke after Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain – all parties to the 2015 deal – held virtual talks on Friday to see how we could move forward.
This satellite image to be distributed shows the Bushehr Reactor in Iran in March 2001
Iran stepped up some enrichment activities after the Trump administration pulled out of the deal
President Biden authorized a military strike in Syria last month and issued a warning to Iran
An Iranian official said US envoy Rob Malley and national security adviser Jake Sullivan would be in Vienna, but insisted there would be no direct or indirect meetings between Iranian and US officials.
“If we don’t get there in two months, we’ll see what happens, but it will definitely be bad news,” said the EU official.
Under the deal, US and other economic sanctions against Tehran were lifted in exchange for curbing Iran’s nuclear program to make it more difficult to develop a nuclear weapon – an ambition that Tehran denies.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was good that talks were resuming, but time was of the essence.
“An agreement that is once again fully respected would be a security asset for the entire region and the best basis for discussions on other important issues of regional stability,” he said in a statement.