Nuclear talks between US and Iran to resume ‘in coming days’, Tehran and EU say
Iran’s indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact are set to resume soon, Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday amid pressure from the top European Union diplomat to extend a months-long break the deadlock in the negotiations.
“We are ready to resume talks in the coming days. It is important for Iran to fully receive the economic benefits of the 2015 agreement,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, adding that he had a “long but positive meeting” had with the EU. foreign chief Josep Borrell.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he was unable to discuss the status of the negotiations. “But nothing has changed in our view that a nuclear deal is the best way to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear weapon status,” Kirby told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One. “We want to keep them by the rules again.”
The pact appeared to be revived in March when the EU — which is coordinating the negotiations — invited foreign ministers representing the accord’s parties to Vienna to negotiate an agreement after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the administration of President Joe Biden.
But talks have stalled since then, mainly due to Tehran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization’s list.
“We are expected to resume talks in the coming days and break the deadlock. It has now been three months and we need to speed up work. I am very happy with the decision taken in Tehran and Washington,” said Borrell against a television channel. press conference in Tehran.
Two officials, an Iranian and a European, told Reuters ahead of Borrell’s trip that “two issues, including one over sanctions, were yet to be resolved,” the Iranian foreign ministry notes that it has neither confirmed nor denied. “We have agreed on the resumption of negotiations between Iran and the US in the coming days, facilitated by my team, to resolve the last outstanding issues,” Borrell said.
“And the days to come mean days to come. I mean, quickly, immediately.’ In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, with Iran agreeing to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. The US withdrawal and the reintroduction of crippling sanctions prompted Iran to begin violating its nuclear limits about a year later.
Western powers fear Iran will come closer to producing a nuclear bomb if it decides to do so, although Iran says its intentions are completely peaceful.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, which makes the decisions in the nuclear talks, told Borrell that Iran will continue to develop its nuclear program until the West changes its “illegal behavior”. “Iran’s retaliatory actions in the nuclear sector are only legal and rational responses to US unilateralism and European inaction and will continue as long as the illegal practices of the West are not changed,” Shamkhani said, without elaborating.
And despite the impending resumption of talks, Borrell seemed to downplay the possibility of a quick deal. “I can’t predict… We insist. I appreciate the goodwill from the Iranian side. There is also goodwill from the American side,” Borrell said at a press conference on an EU website.
“Talks between Iran, the US and the EU will not take place in Vienna because they will not be in the 4+1 format… they will probably take place somewhere closer to the Persian Gulf and more specifically in a Persian Gulf state,” Iranian media quoted Borrell as saying.