US, Iran to discuss sanctions, limiting activities

US and Iran hail 'constructive' indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

European diplomats shuttled between Iranian and American officials in Vienna on Tuesday in the most serious effort so far to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal - formally the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA) - is an agreement between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russian Federation allegedly created to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Under the 2015 accord, U.S. and other economic sanctions on Tehran were removed in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme to make it harder to develop a nuclear weapon - an ambition Tehran denies.

Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, who is leading the Islamic Republic's delegation to the Austrian capital, told Press TV that Tehran is still standing by its position that United States sanctions must be lifted in bulk.

"That is quite [a] logical and a very reasonable demand by the Islamic Republic of Iran", Araghchi said. The other JCPOA-related sanctions are mostly focused on Iran's banking and oil sectors. "So obviously, if they want to come back, they will have to lift all those sanctions, all together, in one step".

Araghchi also vowed that Iran would return to full compliance with the JCPOA as soon as sanctions are lifted.

But Press TV, an Iranian state media outlet, reported that Malley and the US delegation will "leave Vienna empty-handed if the Tuesday meeting would result in anything other than the removal of all USA sanctions", citing an "an informed source close to the Iranian negotiating team".

The US officials attending the meeting in Austria will sit in a different place to Iran and the remaining members of the "P5+1" group of world powers - China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018, re-imposing strict US sanctions on Iran's economy and government. In response, Iran has been producing nuclear materials beyond the limits set by the accord.

He said it was based on "a giant fiction that a murderous regime desired only a peaceful nuclear energy programme" and reinstated crippling economic sanctions in an attempt to compel Iran to negotiate a replacement. "The groups started to work immediately", Ulyanov wrote on Twitter.

The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. "So this opportunity shouldn't be wasted", he said on Twitter.

"I think it's important to convey to our partners. that we believe diplomacy is the best step forward", Psaki said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in March also urged the U.S.to act quickly, noting that as his country's June elections approach, Washington will find itself dealing with a government unable to make progress in the nuclear talks.

The clock is ticking on trying to get the U.S. back into the deal with the goal of returning Iran to compliance.

He added that Washington is open to face-to-face talks with Tehran.

Al Arabiya cited its sources as saying the ship was attacked off Eritrea and was affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards but gave no evidence to support the assertion.

"Regardless of whether Europe has the will or ability to persuade #USA to lift all sanctions at once & Washington's return to its commitments, there will be no possibility for Iran entering talks in the new fields, more than JCPOA, under any circumstances". Still, he defended efforts to reimplement the JCPOA in an interview with NPR on Tuesday. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, but nowhere near the amount it had before the nuclear deal was signed. "And so we'll have to see how things go". "It has failed", Malley said.

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Tehran and Beijing had signed a 25-year "strategic cooperation" agreement late last month.

US President Joe Biden wants to rejoin the accord.

The president and his top aides say they aim to make the deal "longer and stronger", then use it as a vehicle to address other issues with Tehran, including its ballistic missile programme and nuclear activities.

But the White House is facing pressure from Republicans and some Democrats against reviving the nuclear agreement.

"No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary", he tweeted.

"The Biden administration's first priority should be freeing American hostages, not offering sanctions relief to the ayatollahs".

"But we're much better off talking about all of that if we could at least put the current nuclear issue to the side and not have to worry every day about what the latest Iranian announcement will be", Malley said.