Diplomats from the EU, China, Russia and Iran at the start of talks at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, Austria, April 6, 2021. (Vienna EU Delegation Photo via AFP)
The United States Wednesday said it was prepared to remove sanctions on Iran to resume compliance with the nuclear deal, including those that are inconsistent with the 2015 pact, but provided no details.
“We are prepared to take the steps necessary to return to compliance with the JCPOA, including by lifting sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA. I am not in a position here to give you chapter and verse on what those might be,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
He was referring to the pact formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal, which lifted economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program, and reimposed U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to violate the accord’s atomic limitations.
The deal’s remaining parties – Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – agreed Tuesday to form two expert-level groups whose job is to marry lists of sanctions that the U.S. could lift with nuclear obligations Iran should meet.
The U.S. State Department’s statement came after diplomats from the major powers and the European Union met separately Wednesday with Iran and the U.S. to discuss what sanctions Washington might remove and what nuclear curbs Tehran might observe, in an effort to bring both countries back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, a U.S. official was cited by Reuters as saying.
Longtime foes the U.S. and Iran have said they do not expect quick breakthroughs in the talks that began in Vienna Tuesday, with European and other diplomats as intermediaries because Tehran rejects face-to-face talks for now.
Diplomats said the working groups, which are chaired by the EU and exclude the U.S., met Wednesday. A U.S. official said on condition of anonymity that the U.S. delegation in Vienna had been briefed on the discussions.