Iran scorns idea of talks with West to revive 2015 N-deal

Published March 1, 2021
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh. — Anadolu Agency/File
Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh. — Anadolu Agency/File

DUBAI: Iran on Sunday ruled out holding an informal meeting with the United States and European powers to discuss ways to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, insisting that Washington must lift all its unilateral sanctions.

“Considering the recent actions and statements by the United States and three European powers, Iran does not consider this the time to hold an informal meeting with these countries, which was proposed by the EU foreign policy chief,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to Iranian media.

Iranian officials had said Tehran was studying a proposal by European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to hold an informal meeting with other parties to the nuclear pact and the United States, which reimposed sanctions on Iran after then-president Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018.

Iran and the new US administration of President Joe Biden have been at odds over who should take the first step to revive the accord. Iran insists the United States must first lift sanctions while Washington says Tehran must first return to compliance with the deal, which it has been progressively breaching.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sketched out a potential choreography on Feb 1 to overcome the impasse.

US disappointed

The United States said on Sunday it was disappointed that Iran had ruled out an informal meeting to discuss ways to revive its nuclear deal with major powers, but said it remained ready to re-engage in meaningful diplomacy on the issue.

“While we are disappointed at Iran’s response, we remain ready to re-engage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with JCPOA commitments,” a White House spokeswoman said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal.

She said Washington would be consulting its P5+1 partners _ the four other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in China, France, Russia, United Kingdom _ plus Germany, on the best way forward.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2021

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