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US join Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal

US join Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal

US join Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal

The United States will join talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal,

which the Trump administration abandoned in 2018.

President Joe Biden has said he wants to return to the landmark accord.

But the six remaining state parties need to find a way for him to lift the

sanctions imposed by his predecessor and for Iran to return to the agreed

limits on its nuclear programme. Iran has said it will not meet

the US face to face until that happens.

The top US officials attending the meeting in Austria will reportedly be

based in a different hotel to the one hosting the meeting of the delegations

from Iran and the other world powers – China, France, Germany, Russia and

the UK. European officials will act as intermediaries.

“We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead,”

US state department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Monday.

“These are early days. We don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough,

as these discussions, we fully expect, will be difficult.”

US join Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal
US join Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal
Mr Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, told PBS Newshour last week

that his goal was to “see whether we could agree on a road map back to

compliance for both sides”. He added: “The United States knows that,

in order to get back into compliance, it’s going to have to lift those sanctions that

are inconsistent with the deal that was reached with Iran.”

When asked about the comments at a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday,

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said he “saluted” them.

“We find this position realistic and promising,” he added. “It could be the start

of correcting the bad process that had taken diplomacy to a dead end.”

Mr Rabiei reiterated that Iran was “ready to mutually return to all its obligations in

the shortest possible time after verifying the fulfilment of the obligations by the other parties”.

The nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),

has been in intensive care since Donald Trump pulled the US out of it.

He said it was based on “a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only

a peaceful nuclear energy programme” and reinstated crippling economic sanctions

in an attempt to compel Iran to negotiate a replacement.

Iran, which insists it does not want nuclear weapons, refused to do so and

retaliated by rolling back a number of key commitments under the accord.

Since the end of the year it has accelerated the breaches in an attempt to increase

pressure on the US. They have included operating advanced centrifuges to enrich

uranium, resuming enrichment to 20% concentration of the most fissile U-235 isotope,

and building a stockpile of that material.

The nuclear deal only allows Iran to produce and store limited quantities of

uranium enriched up to 3.67% concentration, which can be used to produce fuel

for commercial nuclear power plants. Uranium that is enriched to 90% or more

can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran’s government has said the steps

were taken to comply with a law passed by parliament following

the assassination in November of the top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh,

which Iranian officials blamed on Israel.

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