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The US is set to start talks with EU negotiators in Austria’s capital Vienna aimed at salvaging an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, which Washington withdrew from in 2018.
US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to reverse the decision of his predecessor Donald Trump and return to the 2015 agreement, which was supposed to ensure that Iran never developed a military nuclear programme.
But Iran is demanding an end to crippling sanctions imposed by Trump and has refused to meet US negotiators at the latest talks, meaning European players will act as intermediaries.
Ahead of the talks, US special envoy Rob Malley suggested that the United States could be open to lifting sanctions and returning to the 2015 deal, comments Iran government spokesman Ali Rabiei called ‘promising‘.
‘We find this position realistic and promising. It could be the start of correcting the bad process that had taken diplomacy to a dead end‘ he told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
Iran confirmed in January it was enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, well beyond the threshold set by the deal.
Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group, which monitors conflicts, tweeted that the talks represented ‘an important marker that both U.S. & Iran are serious about breaking the inertia’.
Since neither side appears willing to take the first step, experts such as Vaez have suggested the negotiators could make a ‘gesture-for-gesture‘ deal to break the deadlock.
Rabiei reiterated Iran was ready to reverse the steps it had taken as soon as all sanctions imposed during the Trump administration are lifted.
‘We do not accept a step by step approach,’ he concluded.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK