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Iran dismisses EU offer of nuclear talks with US

Iran dismisses EU offer of nuclear talks with US
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Iran on Sunday rejected an offer from the European Union to hold direct nuclear talks with the U.S., dealing a setback to the Biden administration's goal of restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.

Tehran is seeking a guarantee that the U.S. will not walk away from discussions without providing sanctions relief, a condition Washington has ruled out, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The rejection from Iran comes less than a week after President BidenJoe BidenKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' US officials testify on domestic terrorism in wake of Capitol attack MORE ordered airstrikes on Iranian-backed militant groups in Syria.

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Officials from the EU had been hopeful that a meeting between Washington and Tehran could be set up soon, the Journal reported, but Iranian officials this past weekend conveyed that they would not attend a meeting given the current diplomatic situation.

“Given the recent moves and positions of the U.S. and the three European countries, the Islamic Republic doesn’t assess the timing of an informal meeting proposed by the EU coordinator as appropriate,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saaed Khatibzadeh said, according to the Journal.

“The path ahead is very clear: The U.S. should end its illegal and unilateral sanctions and return to its JCPOA commitments," Khatibzadeh added.

A senior Biden official told the Journal that the administration was disappointed, while adding that the U.S. would now consult with its European partners as well as China and Russia on other diplomatic avenues.

“It is unfortunate because that could have happened quickly. That was what was on the table,” the administration official said of the EU proposal. “We are not going to be dogmatic or sticklers for form. We want to make sure that whatever formal process is agreed is one that is going to be effective.”

Iran reportedly proposed that the EU act as a moderator between Tehran and the U.S. in which both countries agreed to concessions in a step-by-step process.

The Biden administration last month said it was open to restarting discussions with European countries about rejoining the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran.

“The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” a State Department spokesperson told The Hill at the time.