Iran rejects 'step-by-step' lifting of U.S. sanctions

Iran rejects 'step-by-step' lifting of U.S. sanctions

The United States and Iran will conduct indirect negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna next week, a commission that oversees the accord said on Friday. But Price added: "These remain early days, and we don't anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be hard discussions ahead". The U.S.in turn has demanded that Iran return to full compliance with its obligations under the deal.

Former US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear pact in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to breach some of the accord's nuclear restrictions.

"Participants agreed to resume this session of the Joint Commission in Vienna next week, in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups".

The chair of the group, which comprises the European Union, China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran, said that the participants "recognized the prospect of a full return of the U.S.to the JCPOA, and underlined their readiness to positively address this in a joint effort".

The State Department also confirmed Thursday that the U.S. had granted Iraq an extension to a sanctions waiver allowing it to import Iranian gas.

"The Joint Commission was chaired, on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, by the EEAS Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers/Political Directors", reads a statement by the EEAS.

US, Iran say they'll begin indirect talks on nuclear program
Tehran has said that it would resume its own compliance with the JCPOA once the lifting of sanctions has been verified. The Biden administration has said that if Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA, the US would do the same.

In the US, conservatives have pushed the Biden administration to broaden talks to address other complaints against Iran, including its crucial support to armed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria and its detention of American citizens, as a condition for lifting sanctions.

Tehran says Washington has to end the sanctions before it will make any moves to get back in line, and is refusing to hold direct negotiations with the US.

Russia's ambassador to global organisations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said that "the impression is that we are on the right track, but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive efforts".

Following a call with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on Saturday, Le Drian said in a statement that he had asked Iran to refrain from further violations of current nuclear commitments to aid discussions.

Events since Trump pulled out of the deal complicate the United States' return.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said that over the past two years, Iran has accumulated a lot of nuclear material and new capacities, and used the time for "honing their skills in these areas". Under a last-minute agreement worked out during a trip to Tehran, however, some access was preserved. But the US State Department later confirmed that it will be present at the event.

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