US and Iranian officials will visit Vienna next week as part of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and the major world powers, although the two countries do not plan to negotiate directly, the department confirmed on Friday. of American state. (Of them) .
Even without face-to-face dialogues, the presence of Tehran and Washington in the Austrian capital from the 6th will mark an important step in bringing all parts of the agreement back to discussion. The aim is to reach a new deal within two months, a European Union (EU) official said.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reinstated sanctions against Iran, forcing Tehran to violate some of the previously agreed nuclear restrictions. The Republican’s successor, Democrat Joe Biden, for his part wants to revive the agreement, but the two countries do not agree on who should take the first step to resume negotiations.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed that Washington would meet with European partners, in addition to Russia and China, to identify issues related to the return to the nuclear pact.
“We’re still in the early stages and we don’t plan for an immediate advance, as there will be some tough talks ahead. But it’s a healthy step,” Price said in a statement. “We do not anticipate direct talks with Iran through this process, although the United States remains open to them,” Price said.
The negotiations will aim to formulate a list of sanctions that the Americans can withdraw and, on the other hand, of commitments that the Iranians can meet as part of their nuclear program, according to a European diplomat. Reaching consensus, he said, should take more than two months of dialogue. The official said if negotiations fail after this period, “it would certainly be bad news.”
This Friday, Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, all signatory members of the 2015 agreement, held virtual meetings to detect where it is possible to progress towards the resumption of the agreement.
On Twitter, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote that the aim is to quickly end the withdrawal of sanctions, which he said will be followed by “corrective measures” from Tehran. “No meetings between Iran and the United States. Useless,” added the Persian foreign minister.
An Iranian official said that US envoy to Iran Rob Malley and national security adviser Jake Sullivan were due to travel to Vienna, but ruled out any direct or indirect meeting between officials from the two countries in the Austrian capital.
According to the state-owned Press TV, citing an unidentified source, Iran will reject a step-by-step withdrawal of sanctions at next week’s meeting. “In accordance with the unchanged advice of the leader [supremo] from Iran [o aiatolá Ali Khamenei], any result based on a gradual lifting of sanctions or indirect negotiations with the United States will be unacceptable, ”the source said, according to Press TV.
As part of the nuclear deal, the United States agreed to withdraw sanctions from Tehran in exchange for mastery of Iran’s nuclear program, making it more difficult for the Persian country to produce nuclear weapons, a ambition that Tehran denies having.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas celebrated the resumption of negotiations and stressed that, in this case, time is running out. “An agreement that would again be fully respected would be a benefit for the security of the whole region and the best basis for negotiations on other important issues of regional stability,” he said in a statement.