In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP)
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP)

Nuclear deal: Time not 'ripe' for talks with US and Europe, says Iran

US President Joe Biden has offered to participate in talks between Iran and major powers to revive the accord, but the two sides remain at odds over who should act first.
Bloomberg |
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 04:02 PM IST

Iran’s foreign ministry said it wasn’t the right time for direct talks with the Biden administration and European powers to find a way to end the stalemate over the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Donald Trump.

“Considering US/E3 positions & actions, time isn’t ripe for the proposed informal meeting,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a tweet.

The U.S. “can’t continue to uphold the maximum pressure policy and sanctions... and sit at the table anew,” Khatibzadeh said in a press briefing in Tehran Monday.

U.S. President Joe Biden has offered to participate in talks between Iran and major powers to revive the accord, but the two sides remain at odds over who should act first. As a starting point, Iran wants the U.S. to lift sanctions that Trump reimposed, stifling oil exports and hurting the economy. Biden wants the Islamic Republic to first resume its compliance with the multilateral agreement that seeks to curb its nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested last month that European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell “choreograph the actions that are needed to be taken by the U.S. and the actions needed to be taken by Iran.”

Zarif’s comments had raised the prospect that the two sides could take synchronized steps to return to the deal. Informal talks had been expected to take place this month.

Raising the barrier to diplomacy, Iran has restricted snap international inspections of its nuclear sites, providing access only for an additional three-month period under an arrangement with the global atomic watchdog announced Sunday.

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FILE - In this file photo released Jan. 16, 2021, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a missile is launched in a drill in Iran. The Biden administration’s early efforts to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are getting a chilly early response from Tehran. Though few expected a breakthrough in the first month of the new administration, Iran’s tough line suggests a difficult road ahead.(Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP, File)(AP)
FILE - In this file photo released Jan. 16, 2021, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a missile is launched in a drill in Iran. The Biden administration’s early efforts to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are getting a chilly early response from Tehran. Though few expected a breakthrough in the first month of the new administration, Iran’s tough line suggests a difficult road ahead.(Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Sepahnews via AP, File)(AP)

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