Iran to rejoin nuclear talks on Nov. 29
The U.S. and Iran plan to restart international discussions on Nov. 29 over returning to the Obama-era nuclear deal, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.
The U.S. delegation to the Vienna talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which then-President Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2018, will be led by special envoy for Iran Robert Malley.
The announcement marks the first forward progress on continuing indirect discussions between Washington and Tehran after previous negotiations fell apart in June.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, announced the decision on Twitter after a call with Enrique Mora, the European Union official in charge of coordinating the negotiations.
“In a phone call with @enriquemora_ , we agreed to start the negotiations aiming at removal of unlawful & inhumane sanctions on 29 November in Vienna,” Bagheri Kani tweeted, referring to penalties imposed under the Trump administration.
Mora said in a tweet Wednesday the talks will include all the remaining JCPOA members — the European Union, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom — and the United States.
— Enrique Mora (@enriquemora_) November 3, 2021
The Biden administration is intent on reviving the JCPOA and said it is prepared to lift sanctions that are inconsistent with the deal while calling on Iran to roll back its nuclear activity that exceeds its limits. Iran began breaching the terms of the agreement in 2019 in response to the Trump administration’s campaign of sanctions.
The U.S. and Iran have participated in six indirect discussions over a pathway to return to the JCPOA since April, with the final round ending in June. Iran has held off agreeing to return to the talks amid a change in its presidential administrations, with Tehran now led by the U.S.-sanctioned conservative hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Wednesday said that the talks should start from where they left off with the conclusion of the sixth round of talks in June.
“We have been unambiguous when it comes to our position that there was tremendous progress in rounds one through six in these talks in Vienna. It would be neither productive nor wise to take up from any other position from where we left off in June, from the conclusion in the sixth round,” Price said.
President Biden, his officials and allied nations such as Israel have raised the possibility that the U.S. is prepared to pursue “other options” to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a statement widely interpreted to include the possibility of military force.