US, Iran hold 1st indirect talks in bid to save nuclear deal

US, Iran hold 1st indirect talks in bid to save nuclear deal”

It will take some time.

This came as Saudi Arabia requested to join the talks between Iran and Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany in Vienna due to start today.

Iran and world powers held what they described as "constructive" talks on Tuesday and agreed to form working groups to discuss the sanctions Washington might lift and the nuclear curbs Tehran might observe as they try to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Constructive Joint Commission meeting".

The restoration of JCPOA will not happen immediately. It will take some time. "How long? Nobody knows", Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's Vienna-based envoy to global organisations, wrote on Twitter, referring to the pact by its acronym.

"We need to make the best of this diplomatic space to bring the JCPOA back on track", said a tweet from European Union diplomat Enrique Mora, the chair of Tuesday's meeting, referring to the pact by its initialism.

European intermediaries were shuttling between Iranian and United States officials in Vienna as they sought to bring both countries back into full compliance with the deal.

This is the first full-scale effort to restart talks between the two countries since Washington pulled out of the accord in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

While Tehran has repeatedly rebuffed "direct and indirect negotiations" with its old foe, Washington said on Monday it expected the talks to be hard. Neither side expected any early breakthrough.

Malley's remarks came as parties to the 2015 deal - including the USA and Iran, as well as British, French, and German representatives - gathered in the Austrian capital for a multi-day round of talks, with the latter delegations facilitating indirect talks between the Americans and Iranians.

The remaining parties to the deal have met at a Viennese hotel for preparatory talks amid snowy conditions in the Austrian capital, where the pact was originally reached in 2015.

Russian Federation and China, the other parties to the 2015 pact, are also attending.

Biden says returning to the JCPOA is the best path to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which his administration says is a U.S. foreign policy priority.

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Araqchi said Tehran had rejected a US proposal for Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20% fissile purity in return for the release of $1 billion of its funds blocked in other countries amid the USA sanctions.

"This is going to involve discussions about identifying the steps that the USA has to take and identifying the steps that Iran is going to have to take", Malley told NPR radio on Tuesday morning.

"Because they've been increasingly in noncompliance with their nuclear commitments". "The nuclear deal has been negotiated and sealed and placed on the shelf".

"The lifting of U.S. sanctions is the first and most necessary step to re-establish the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. So this opportunity shouldn't be wasted", he said on Twitter, referring to the nuclear deal by an acronym.

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

Iran's Supreme Leader, who has final say in his nation's foreign policy, has demanded an immediate end to all USA sanctions.

Russia's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mikhail Ulyanov, said after the meeting that the parties had tasked two expert-level groups on sanctions-lifting and nuclear issues to identify concrete measures to move forward.

Ahead of Tuesday's talks, an Iranian prosecutor said 10 officials have been indicted over last year's military shooting-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in which 176 people died.

"We don't anticipate at present that there will be direct talks with Iran", he said.

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.

It is not clear that Iran would engage in such discussions.

"What we would pursue is, first of all, a longer would be better, as in any arms control agreement, to see whether we could get a follow-on deal that extends the timelines", Malley said, adding that he wanted talks about all other issues.

In late February, Iran began restricting global inspections of its nuclear facilities, but under a last-minute deal worked out during a trip to Tehran by Rafael Grossi, the head of the Vienna-based United Nations atomic watchdog, some access was preserved.

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