Iran and U.S. 'to hold indirect nuclear talks in Vienna next week'

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses in a conference in Tehran Iran Tuesday Feb. 23 2021

State Department spokesperson Ned Price called the resumption of negotiations, scheduled for Tuesday in Austria, "a healthy step forward".

Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Tehran is in "no hurry" to return to its obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and is prepared to wait until the U.S. lifts its illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian news agencies quoted Abbas Aragchi, the country's deputy foreign minister, who attended the online meeting, as reiterating his government's insistence that "termination" of USA sanctions was the first step in reviving the nuclear agreement and getting Tehran to end its "retaliatory" measures, including increasing the quantity and quality of its enriched uranium.

In a statement, the European Union announced a meeting of the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the Iran nuclear deal.

In last month's interview with the USA news outlet Politico, Zarif reiterated Iran's readiness to adhere to the JCPOA "as soon as the United States comes to compliance".

The U.S.is speaking to partners "about the best way to achieve this, including through a series of initial mutual steps", he added.

The statement continued: "Participants agreed to resume this session of the Joint Commission in Vienna next week, in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups". The Biden administration has said that if Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA, the USA would do the same.

Vienna meeting signals new push to revive Iran nuclear deal

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

Iran has insisted that the United States must act first on removing the Trump sanctions, which include a unilateral effort to stop all its oil exports, before it will roll back measures away from compliance that it had taken as a protest.

Iranian state television quoted Abbas Araghchi, Iran's nuclear negotiator at the virtual meeting, as saying during Friday's discussions meeting that any "return by the U.S.to the nuclear deal does not require any negotiation and the path is quite clear".

China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom signed the original agreement with Iran and the U.S.

Russia's ambassador to worldwide organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that "the impression is that we are on the right track, but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive efforts".

The top Iranian diplomat also emphasised that the goal of the Vienna negotiations is to "rapidly finalise sanction-lifting and nuclear measures for [a] choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing [its] remedial measures". President Joe Biden has said the USA will rejoin the nuclear deal once Tehran returns to full compliance with its agreements under the deal.

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