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US, Iran set to start indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

Since then, Iran has consistently violated restrictions in the agreement, such as the amount of enriched uranium it can store and the purity to which it can enrich it. Tehran’s measures were calculated to put pressure on the other countries in the agreement – Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain – to do more to offset crippling sanctions reimposed under Trump.

President Joe Biden took office saying getting back into the deal and putting Iran’s nuclear program back under international restrictions was a priority. But Iran and the United States disagree over Iran’s demands that the sanctions be lifted first.

Senior foreign ministry officials from countries still in the agreement, the so-called joint comprehensive action plan, are holding a meeting chaired by the European Union on Tuesday in Vienna.

An American delegation is also expected in the Austrian capital, led by the administration’s special envoy for Iran, Rob Malley. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the talks will be structured around working groups that the Europeans will form with other parties to the deal.

Price said on Monday that the talks were a “healthy step forward,” but added that “we do not anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough because these talks, we fully anticipate, will be difficult.”

“We do not foresee at the moment that there will be direct talks with Iran,” he said. “Of course, we remain open to them. And so we’ll have to see how things go early this week. “

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter on Friday: “No Iran-US meeting. Useless. “

A statement released after the parties to the deal virtually met on Friday said the goal of their meeting on Tuesday was “to clearly identify the lifting of sanctions and nuclear implementation measures, including by calling meetings of the groups of experts concerned ”.

Ahead of Tuesday’s talks, an Iranian prosecutor said 10 officials had been charged in last year’s military shooting against a Ukrainian airliner in which 176 people were killed.

Iran faced heavy international criticism last month for issuing a final report that accused human error but named no one.

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