Indirect talks with Iran to resume in Vienna next week: US official

Washington: The indirect talks with Iran would resume in Vienna next week, a US official has said, noting that the meeting held this week through the European Union, China and Russia made some progress.

A senior State Department official told reporters after the conclusion of the talks this week, “The parties will reconvene next week in Vienna sometime mid-week. We expect that the US team will be back and it will be continuing this process of clarifying what steps both sides need to take to come back into compliance.”

“Our hope is that we’ll see from Iran a greater indication of what they’re prepared to do and greater indication that they will take a constructive attitude in getting there,” the official said, describing this week’s meeting as the first step of this first phase of a potential return to the JCPOA.

“It’s really just preliminary steps,” the official said.

At the same time, a question still remains about whether the seriousness of purpose and the intent of coming back into compliance that the US showed would be reciprocated by Iran, he said.

Noting that the American delegation saw some signs of it but certainly not enough, the official said there still are question marks about whether Iran has the willingness to do what it will to take the pragmatic approach that the US has taken to come back into compliance with its obligations under the deal.

“I think that coming out of this week, this met expectations but with that question mark that I think still hangs over the proceedings,” the official said.

Responding to a question, he noted Iran has said on many occasions that its intent is to come back into compliance with the deal, that it agreed to these indirect talks in Vienna.

“The atmosphere, as far as we can tell because everything was relayed back to us from the discussions that other delegations had with Iran, that it was businesslike and that they took the matter seriously.

“We read that as a sign that perhaps they mean what they say when they claim that they want to find a way back to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if the US is back in compliance with, that they want to come back into compliance with the JCPOA if the US is,” the official said.

The US, he said, has made it clear publicly to the Iranians indirectly that it is America’s view is that all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and inconsistent with the benefits that Iran expects from the JCPOA.

“We are prepared to lift those if Iran comes back into compliance with its obligations,” the official said.

Without getting into the specifics, the official said it is the position of the Biden administration that all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and are inconsistent with the benefits that Iran expects from the JCPOA, it is prepared to lift.

“That doesn’t mean all of them because there are some that are legitimate sanctions,” he said.

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