US officials to meet with participants of 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna next week
U.S. officials will participate next week in a meeting with signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, marking a significant step by President Biden to rejoin the deal following former President Trump’s withdrawal in 2018.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told The Hill that the U.S. has agreed to participate in talks with European, Russian and Chinese counterparts to “identify the issues involved in a mutual return to compliance” with the nuclear deal with Iran, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The meeting will take place April 6. Price added that they don’t anticipate there will be direct talks between the U.S. and Iran but that American officials remain “open to them.”
“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” he said.
Primary issues to be discussed are steps Iran would need to take to return to compliance with the terms of the deal, Price added, and sanctions relief steps the U.S. would need to take in order to return to compliance as well.
The U.S. and Iran are in a diplomatic stalemate over how to move forward on returning to the parameters of the JCPOA for both countries.
Iran has demanded that the Biden administration lift all sanctions imposed by the former Trump administration that were put in place when Trump exited the deal in 2018.
Biden officials, however, have said they can only provide sanctions relief after Iran reverses actions it has taken that violate the terms of the deal, including reducing uranium enrichment from current levels of more than 20 percent to 3.67 percent, as required by the agreement, and ensuring access for inspections by international nuclear monitors.
Biden has made it a foreign policy priority to return the U.S. to the JCPOA to rein in the threat of Iran attaining a nuclear weapon, despite Tehran maintaining its activities are for peaceful purposes.
The administration has said it would use a return to the JCPOA as a starting point to negotiate a “longer and stronger” agreement that would address what they say is Iran’s troubling behavior in funding for terrorist proxies across the Middle East, its ballistic weapons program and human rights abuses.