Return to nuclear deal

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

Ahead of the meeting, US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that Washington was "ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same".

Representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran will meet virtually on Friday to discuss the possible return of the United States to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union (EU) announced on Thursday.

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

The multilateral Joint Commission for the Iran deal said that parties to the agreement will hold talks in the Austrian capital involving the United States to address Washington's return to the accord.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump however withdrew the United States from the JCPOA in 2018 and tightened sanctions on Iran. The Biden administration and Iran have differed on any conditions for that to happen, including the timing of the lifting of US sanctions against Iran.

In a tweet, Zarif said the aim of the Vienna session would be "rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures".

"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 Joint Commission said in a statement.

Vienna meeting signals new push to revive Iran nuclear deal
Iran, US to meet nuclear deal members in Vienna Tuesday, but no direct talks

U.S. President Joe Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to violate some of the pact's nuclear restrictions in retaliation.

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

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has stated that a possible U.S. decision to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), does not require any talks. He stressed that a meeting between Iran and the United States was "unnecessary" at this point.

Speaking to the deal's remaining signatories during a virtual meeting on Friday, Araqchi added that "Iran will suspend its steps [scaling back compliance with the deal's terms] as soon as [US] sanctions are lifted and this is verified".

Russia's ambassador to global organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that Friday's session went well and the parties were prepared to talk further. The turn has demanded that Iran return to full compliance with its obligations under the deal.

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



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