JERUSALEM, Israel – The United States and members of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal are set to meet in Vienna on Tuesday.
Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and Iran will take part in the EU-brokered nuclear negotiations. Iran and the US announced on Friday they would engage in indirect talks during the visit, signaling progress in the US’s effort to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. However, Iran appears to be backtracking on its intentions to negotiate with Washington.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister said on Sunday that his trip to Vienna will not involve talks with the US “either directly or indirectly” and reiterated Iran’s position that all sanctions must be lifted before it returns to full compliance under the nuclear accord.
President Joe Biden wants to salvage or renegotiate the nuclear deal, which bound Iran to nuclear restrictions in return for sanctions relief. The previous US administration unilaterally abandoned the deal and hit Iran with crippling sanctions.
Despite Biden’s willingness to negotiate with Iran, the two countries can’t agree on the first step.
Biden has said he will not lift the sanctions until Iran stops violating the terms of the nuclear accord. Iran argues the US first violated the deal by unilaterally pulling out and returning sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
However, Politico reports that Washington may be planning to offer some sanctions relief to Iran if the Islamic Republic agrees to stop working on advanced centrifuges and enriching uranium to 20% purity.
One unnamed official stressed the details of the proposal are still being worked out.
Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. But Israel claims Iran is seeking its destruction through nuclear warfare.