US, Iran clash over sanctions; US sees possible `impasse`

Iran Calls Natanz Atomic Site Blackout 'Nuclear Terrorism'

Iran Calls Natanz Atomic Site Blackout 'Nuclear Terrorism'

The US official said on Friday that Washington is willing to nix all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA, even if they're not officially labelled as nuclear sanctions.

"We read that as a sign that perhaps they mean what they say when they claim that they want to find a way back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if the U.S. is back in compliance with, that they want to come back into compliance with the JCPOA if the United States is", the official said.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, which lifted economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program.

A senior US State Department official said late on Friday that, after the first round of indirect talks this week, "question marks" persist over Iran's willingness to do what it takes to reimplement the accord. "On the whole the discussions were productive, they were business-like, the atmosphere was very constructive".

At the same time, a question still remains about whether the seriousness of objective and the intent of coming back into compliance that the USA showed would be reciprocated by Iran, he said.

"We saw some signs of it but certainly not enough".

Iranian officials have maintained that the United States must lift all Trump-era sanctions and return to the nuclear deal before it comes back into compliance with the agreement.

The senior State Department official said such public views cast doubt on whether Tehran truly intends to return to compliance with the conditions of the deal - conditions it has increasingly breached.

Austin was due to meet Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz during the two-day visit, which officials said would include discussions of US arms supplies to Israel.

Putin accuses Ukraine of provocations in phone call with Merkel
Mr Kozak suggested the rebels could hold their own for now against Ukrainian forces as they consisted of "battle-hardened units". He also warned that an escalation could mark the "beginning of the end" for Ukraine - "not a shot in the leg, but in the face".

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel on Sunday on the first visit by a senior representative of the Biden administration, whose stance on Iran has anxious Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

"The reasons behind the incident are being investigated and additional information will be provided later", spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi told the Fars News Agency, adding that there is no loss of life or environmental pollution as a result.

Foundation for Defense of Democracies analyst Bradley Bowman said in a Monday interview that it would be a mistake for the U.S.to provide sanctions relief to Iran as part of a mutual return to compliance with what he said was a flawed original deal that enabled Iran to continue perceived malign activities.

"Our hope is that we'll see from Iran greater indication of what they're prepared to do and greater indication that they will take constructive attitude in getting there", he said.

U.S. officials said they were not involved in the tanker's release and that the issue was not linked to the talks in Vienna. "So I think we'll have to see what happens, what happens tomorrow to get a further clue - it won't be a definitive answer probably - but a further clue into Iran's thinking".

Iran met with the deal's signatories in Vienna this week.

Talks are set to resume Wednesday with Iran again meeting the other nations in the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation as well as the European Union.

"All of this would be infinitely easier if we had direct conversations with Iran", he said.

Iran is now detaining U.S. citizens Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Morad Tahbaz, and Emad Sharghi and has not accounted for the fate of Robert Levinson.

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