The United States is ready to restart talks with Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement, reversing former President Donald Trump’s decision to walk out of the landmark deal that was aimed at preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after a meeting with his European partners on Thursday, stressed President Joe Biden’s position that Washington would return to the accord formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if Tehran came into full compliance with the deal.
Later, the state department said it was open to an “informal meeting” with the so-called P5+1 – the parties to the agreement including Iran – that a European Union official has offered to host.
It is the most concrete step the Biden administration has publicly made towards direct engagement with Tehran on the nuclear deal to date.
However, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh seemed to immediately throw cold water on the suggestion, tweeting on Friday “It is now only Iran and P4+1”.
“Gestures are fine. But to revive P5+1, US must Act: LIFT sanctions,” he wrote.
‘Remove the cause if you fear the effect’
Iran has in recent months stepped up its nuclear activity in breach of the deal blaming the United States and European powers – the other signatories to the deal – for reneging on their commitments.
Tehran says Washington and European powers must be first to return to its commitments under the historic 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran has also threatened to stop part of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities scheduled for February 21 if the other signatories do not implement their own commitments under the deal.
European powers Britain, France and Germany – a group known as the E3 – and the US on Thursday warned Iran it would be “dangerous” to limit UN nuclear agency inspections.
“If Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran towards that end,” said a joint statement issued at the meeting in Paris.