Washington says it’s fully prepared to lift sanctions inconsistent with its 2015 nuclear deal commitments if Tehran approaches talks in Vienna “with urgency and good faith.”

US says it will take strong measures, including bringing in new sanctions against Iran if the Vienna talks fail.
US says it will take strong measures, including bringing in new sanctions against Iran if the Vienna talks fail. (Reuters)

US has said it is prepared to lift sanctions against Iran that are not related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal while urging Tehran to act in “good faith” in the ongoing Vienna talks aimed to resuscitate the 2015 nuclear deal. 

“We are fully prepared to lift sanctions inconsistent with our JCPOA commitments, which would allow Iran to receive the economic benefits of the deal,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US envoy to the UN said on Tuesday in a statement.

“The United States continues to pursue the path of diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA, and to address our full range of concerns with Iran,” she said.

She added that if Iran approaches talks in Vienna “with urgency and good faith,” the US can reach and implement an understanding on mutual return. 

“We cannot, however, allow Iran to accelerate its nuclear programme and slow-walk its nuclear diplomacy,” she said.

Saudi says Iran ‘stalling’ talks

Saudi Arabia has said that Iran appeared to be “stalling” in talks with global powers to salvage a nuclear pact and hoped progress would be made soon.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday following a Gulf Arab summit in Riyadh, said the kingdom was in constant contact with parties to the talks in Vienna and the feedback “does not lead to optimism”.

“So far the reports show there is some stalling by Iran and we hope this will turn to progress in the near future,” he said, adding while Gulf states prefer to be part of the talks they would be “open to any mechanism” that addresses their concerns.

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France sees talks reaching ‘end of the road’

The door to resuscitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is open for now but “we are rapidly reaching the end of the road” to revive a pact that is being hollowed out by Iran’s nuclear advances, France’s ambassador to the United Nations said.

“We are nearing the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear programme will have completely hollowed out the JCPOA,” France’s Nicolas de Riviere told reporters on Tuesday. 

“The diplomatic door is firmly open for Iran to a deal now. Iran has to choose between the collapse of the JCPOA and a fair and comprehensive deal … Iran’s continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road.”

Talks on rescuing the deal will very soon become “an empty shell” without progress, senior British, French and German diplomats said on Monday.

Progress in Iran-IAEA talks 

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry told state-run Press TV that he can anticipate reaching an understanding with the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA soon.

He added that ongoing discussions between the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami and IAEA’s director general “have led to progress and gaps over several issues of mutual interest have narrowed.”

The accord, sealed in Vienna in 2015, was meant to rein in Iran’s nuclear programme in return for loosened economic sanctions.

Following the US decision to withdraw and reimpose sanctions on Iran, Tehran has ramped up its nuclear programme again by enriching uranium beyond the thresholds allowed in the agreement. 

Iran has also restricted monitors from the UN atomic watchdog from accessing its nuclear facilities, raising concerns about what the country is doing out of view.

The US says it will take strong measures, including bringing in new sanctions against Iran if the Vienna talks fail. 

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