After a meeting of foreign ministers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in Paris, the Biden administration said on Thursday it would accept an invitation from the EU to negotiations on the return of the Iranian nuclear deal.
Enrique Mora, deputy secretary general of the EU’s foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service, said he was ready to invite all parties for a meeting.
Ned Price, the spokesperson for the US State Department, released a statement saying Washington was ready to resume talks.
“The United States would accept an invitation from the High Representative of the European Union to attend a meeting of the P5 + 1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic path to follow on the Iranian nuclear program,” Price said.
It was not immediately clear whether Iran would be willing to attend. Tehran insisted that the United States should first lift all sanctions reimposed by former President Donald Trump as a condition of returning to the deal. Washington, in turn, called on Iran to revert to honoring its commitments under the deal, which it reneged on in response to Trump’s decision.
Following the Paris meeting, which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended remotely, the US, UK, France and Germany issued a lengthy joint statement warning Iran not to engage in further violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “especially in this time of renewed diplomatic opportunity.
“THE 3 [France, Germany and the U.K.] and the United States affirmed their common goal of returning Iran to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA. Secretary Blinken reiterated that as chairman [Joe] Biden said if Iran returns to strictly honoring its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and be ready to engage in talks with Iran to that end, ”the joint statement said.
The E3 powers, all signatories to the original 2015 deal, continue to support it but have warned Iran against the violations. The joint statement expressed “shared concerns over recent Iranian actions to produce both 20% enriched uranium and uranium metal,” saying these activities had “no credible civilian justification. “And that this last activity was a” key stage in the development of nuclear power. armed.”
However, the European foreign ministers present at the meeting “welcomed the prospect of a return of the United States and Iran to respect for the JCPOA,” the statement said.
In a sign that Europeans are keen not to alienate Tehran even as they embrace the new Biden administration in Washington, European Council President Charles Michel spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday.
According to a summary of the conversation provided by Michel’s office, he expressed concern over Iran’s “departure” from its nuclear deal commitments, but also stressed that “the EU will continue to make efforts to facilitate the full implementation of the JCPOA and the return of the United States of America to the agreement ”- an acknowledgment that it was Trump who unilaterally abandoned the agreement in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russian Ambassador to international organizations in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, called on the United States and Iran to act in unison to return to the nuclear deal and avoid an unnecessary dead end.
“Childish arguments over who should take the first step are absolutely counterproductive”, Ulyanov tweeted. “The process must be carefully synchronized.”
This article has been updated.