No Talks Needed for US Return to Iran Nuclear Deal, Tehran Says

AUSTRIA-EU-IRAN-NUCLEAR-DIPLOMACY

"But we believe this is a healthy step forward", State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

World powers and Iran agreed Friday to meet for talks next week in Vienna on the nuclear deal with Tehran, with mediators to hold "separate contacts" with the USA, the European Union said.

It is unclear how long the meetings will last for, the official said.

The primary issues to be discussed are nuclear steps Iran would need to take to return to compliance with terms of the nuclear pact, and the sanctions relief steps the United States would need to take in order to return to compliance as well, the statement said.

Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and President Joe Biden has said rejoining the agreement is a priority for his administration. The Biden administration and Iran have differed on any conditions for that to happen, including the timing of the lifting of USA sanctions against Iran.

Tehran has said that it would resume its own compliance with the JCPOA once the lifting of sanctions has been verified.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has stated that a possible United States decision to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), does not require any talks.

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The group said they would resume further talks Tuesday in Vienna on the 2015 agreement, "in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures".

Representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran - the countries still party to the agreement after the U.S. left - will attend Friday's meeting, according to an European Union statement. "The party that has started this process has to go back and Iran will immediately go back", Zarif told Politico, in an apparent nod to the US.

He added for good measure: "No Iran-US meeting".

"We are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same", Price said Thursday.

While U.S. officials will be present in Vienna, Iran as yet seems unwilling to engage directly with Washington.

Russia's ambassador to global organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that Friday's session went well and the parties were prepared to talk further. President Joe Biden has said the U.S. will rejoin the nuclear deal once Tehran returns to full compliance with its agreements under the deal.

He stated that the agreements "will ultimately allow Iraq to develop its energy self-sufficiency and, we hope, to end its reliance on Iran".

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