US 'open' to direct talks with Iran at nuclear meet


They "emphasised their commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation", according to a statement after their virtual meeting. "But we believe this is a healthy step forward", State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately stressed that no meeting was planned between officials from Iran and the U.S.

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

On the same day, an anonymous source allegedly familiar with the negotiating process, told Iran's PressTV that Tehran had stressed in a virtual meeting with other JCPOA signatories that it will not return to nuclear accord compliance unless the U.S. lifts all sanctions.

Iran has said that before it resumes compliance with the deal, the USA needs to return to its own obligations under the deal by dropping the sanctions. As part of the deal, Tehran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions. President Joe Biden has said the U.S. will rejoin the nuclear deal once Tehran returns to full compliance with its agreements under the deal.

The State Department also confirmed Thursday that the USA had granted Iraq an extension to a sanctions waiver allowing it to import Iranian gas.

The 120-day extension comes ahead of the start of a "strategic dialogue" between Washington and Baghdad, slated to open via videoconference on 7 April.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn't want to do.

Diplomats had said earlier on Friday that officials from Tehran and Washington would travel to Vienna next week as part of efforts to revive the 2015 accord.

Regarding the agreement between Iran and China, the current U.S. sanctions against Iran remain in place and the United States will consider any attempt to evade sanctions, he also claimed.

It was created to prevent the Islamic republic from acquiring a nuclear arsenal by imposing strict limits on its nuclear programme and force it to remain exclusively civilian and peaceful.



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