Iran and USA '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

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

The parties to the Iran nuclear deal will meet in Vienna on Tuesday as efforts are revving up to bring the United States back into the agreement.

The statement comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced earlier on Friday that the USA would not take part in talks on the JCPOA, scheduled for next week in Vienna.

"We do not anticipate presently that there will be direct talks between the United States and Iran through this process, though the United States remains open to them", Price said. The Biden administration and Iran have differed on any conditions for that to happen, including the timing of the lifting of USA sanctions against Iran.

The Islamic Republic started to scale down its JCPOA obligations, including those pertaining to uranium enrichment, in May 2019, exactly a year after then-US President Donald Trump announced Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the accord, also reinstating harsh economic sanctions against Tehran.

Russia's ambassador to the nuclear deal, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that things were "on the right track".

The State Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

"The coordinator will also intensify separate contacts in Vienna with all JCPOA participants and the United States", the European Union said, referring to the deal by its initials.

Vienna meeting signals new push to revive Iran nuclear deal

But Tehran says Washington has to lift worldwide sanctions that were reimposed by Trump before it will make any moves to get back in line, and is refusing to hold direct negotiations with the US. The Biden administration has said that if Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA, the US would do the same.

"We've been looking at options for doing so, including with indirect conversations through our European partners", Price added.

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".

"Participants will discuss the prospect of a possible return of the the JCPOA, and how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides", it added.

While U.S. officials will be present in Vienna, Iran as yet seems unwilling to engage directly with Washington.

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".

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