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Iran rules out EU, US nuke deal revival talks

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Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran had ruled out a meeting proposed by the European Union on the troubled 2015 nuclear deal. ATTA KENARE AFP/File

Iran rules out EU, US nuke deal revival talks

Iran has dismissed Europe’s offer for an informal meeting involving the US on the troubled 2015 nuclear deal, saying the time is not “suitable” as Washington has failed to lift sanctions.

The EU’s political director last month proposed the informal meeting involving all parties of the Vienna deal, a proposition accepted by US President Joe Biden’s administration.

The US, the European parties to the deal – France, Germany and Britain – and Tehran have been trying to salvage the accord, which granted Iran international sanctions relief in return for restrictions on its nuclear programme.

The accord has been nearing collapse since former president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 and re-imposed crippling sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

“Considering the recent positions and actions of the United States and the three European countries, [Iran] does not consider the time suitable to hold the informal meeting proposed by the European coordinator,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement.

“There has still been no change in the US positions and behaviour yet,” he added, saying the Biden administration has continued “Trump’s failed policy of maximum pressure”.

Biden has signalled readiness to revive the deal, but insists Iran first return to all its nuclear commitments, most of which it suspended in response to the sanctions, while Tehran demands Washington take the first step by scrapping the sanctions.

“While we are disappointed at Iran’s response, we remain ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance,” a White House spokesperson said.

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