Iran nuclear deal talks to resume next week


The US has voiced frustration with Iran's unwillingness to engage in face-to-face talks to revive the nuclear agreement as well as its insistence that all American sanctions must be lifted in one swoop in order to restore the deal.

The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), covers only nuclear sanctions and not United States measures taken in response to human rights or other concerns, the official said.

US President Joe Biden hopes to returning to the 2015 agreement, which his predecessor Donald Trump trashed as he launched a "maximum pressure" campaign in hopes of bringing Tehran to its knees.

"We've made it clear publicly we made it clear to the Iranians indirectly, that our view is that all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and inconsistent with the benefit that Iran expects from the JCPOA, we are prepared to lift those if Iran comes back into compliance with its obligations", the official said.

The multilateral agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saw Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions against its economy.

Iran refused to meet directly with U.S. negotiator Rob Malley during the talks led by the European Union, whose envoys shuttled between the two sides in different hotels.

Noting that the American delegation saw some signs of it but certainly not enough, the official said there still are question marks about whether Iran has the willingness to do what it will to take the pragmatic approach that the United States has taken to come back into compliance with its obligations under the deal.

Iran's latest move to step up uranium enrichment follows an opening round of talks Tuesday with representatives of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal on bringing the United States back into the deal. The official said, however, that European Union mediators going back and forth between two hotels carrying messages between the USA and Iranian teams was cumbersome.

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The JCPOA called for Iran to freeze nuclear activities that could be weaponized in return for sanctions relief from world powers.

The official noted that "it would be infinitely easier if we had direct conversations with Iran", but added that "if they don't want to meet with us, too bad".

The 2015 deal placed strict limits on Iran's uranium stockpile.

In a Tuesday appearance on a TV program about the Vienna talks, Alavi said that if the US maintains sanctions on Iran's financial sector and Tehran remains blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force - a global financial watchdog - the practical impact of sanctions relief will be "minimal".

"We exchanged ideas about the principles that would guide any sanctions lifting on the USA side", the official said.

Given the complexities of the sanction and the demands by each party, the official decried Iran's objection to sitting on the same table as the US.

"And we raised it as forcefully as we always do just to make sure that Iran understands a priority", they said.