UPDATE 2-Iran says nuclear talks will resume “very soon”, gives no date
(Adds comments from Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State)
By Michelle Nichols and Arshad Mohammed
NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (Reuters) – Iran will resume talks on resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “very soon,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters on Friday, without giving specific date.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will return to the negotiating table. We are currently examining the files of the Vienna negotiations and, very soon, Iran’s negotiations with the ‘four plus one’ countries will resume,” Amirabdollahian said.
He was referring to talks that began in April between Iran and the five other countries still in the 2015 deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. European diplomats served as primary intermediaries between Washington and Tehran, which refused to negotiate directly with US officials.
Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that talks in Vienna would resume in a few weeks, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA reported.
As part of the deal, Iran limited its uranium enrichment program, a possible route to nuclear weapons, in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed the sanctions, crippling the Iranian economy and prompting Iran to take action to violate its nuclear limits.
The Vienna talks, which aim to bring both Washington and Tehran back into line with the deal, were postponed in June after the election of extremist Ebrahim Raisi as Iranian president.
“We believe that President (Joe) Biden has a thick record of Trump’s sanctions against Iran at heart, even though he appears to be continuing negotiations and simultaneously imposing new sanctions,” Amirabdollahian said.
“This paradoxical behavior has not been and is not a positive or constructive message for the new administration in Tehran,” he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Thursday that Washington had been “very sincere and very firm” in its attempt to revive the nuclear deal, but warned that the possibility of a return to mutual compliance “n ‘is not undefined “.
During Trump’s presidency, tensions between Washington and Tehran peaked in 2020 with the US murder of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani and an Iranian retaliatory ballistic missile attack against US forces in Iraq.
“We have received this message repeatedly through diplomatic channels – which current US officials say if we had been responsible then we would not have given the order to assassinate General Soleimani,” said Amirabdollahian.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the foreign minister also called the conversations between officials of regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia “constructive” and said Tehran had put forward dynamic proposals to achieve peace in Yemen. The war in Yemen is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; writing by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool)