It's a 'Healthy Step Forward' for US, Iran

Countries to begin indirect talks on nuclear deal compliance
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 2, 2021 10:55 AM CDT
US, Iran Take First Step Toward Nuclear Deal
Iranian diplomats attend a virtual talk on nuclear deal with representatives of world powers, in Tehran, Iran, on Friday.   (Iranian Foreign Ministry via AP)

The US and Iran said Friday that they would start indirect talks with other major world powers next week to try to get both countries back into an accord limiting Iran's nuclear program. The move comes nearly three years after former President Trump pulled the US out of the deal. State Department spokesperson Ned Price called the resumption of negotiations, scheduled for Tuesday in Austria, "a healthy step forward," per the AP. But Price added, "These remain early days, and we don't anticipate an immediate breakthrough." President Biden has said rejoining the Iran nuclear deal is a priority. But his administration and Iran have differed on any conditions for that to happen, including the timing of the lifting of US sanctions against Iran, and the stalemate on those points had threatened to pose a major foreign policy setback for the new administration.

Agreement on the start of multiparty talks—being held to get Iran and the US over their differences on conditions for returning to the 2015 nuclear deal—came after talks Thursday brokered by other governments that have remained in the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Price said next week's talks will be structured around working groups that the European Union was forming with the remaining participants in the accord, including Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain. "The primary issues that will be discussed are the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, and the sanctions relief steps that the United States would need to take in order to return to compliance as well," Price said. The US, like Iran, said it did not anticipate direct talks between the two countries now. Price said the US remains open to that idea.

(More Iran nuclear deal stories.)

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