Joe Biden branded ‘childish’ ahead of crisis talks with Iran on nuclear deal | World | News

Officials from Tehran and Washington will travel to Vienna next week as part of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers, although they will not hold direct talks, diplomats said on Friday. Even without face-to-face talks, which Tehran has ruled out, the presence of both of Iran and the United States in the Austrian capital would mark a step forward in efforts to bring all sides back into compliance with the accord. But France 24 correspondent Dave Keating said: “The really significant thing here is they have scheduled talks for Vienna next week but direct talks between the US and Iran will not happen.

“It’s going to be this kind of weird format where Iran talks to the other signatories and they pass on the message to the US and vice versa.

“How much can be accomplished in that format? We’re not really sure.

“If that kind of arrangement sounds childish that’s because it is but this characterised US-Iran relations for sometime.

“Just talking to the other side as seen as a big concession and I think both sides want to maintain some plausible deniability that they ever agreed to resume talks so they’re happening in this tenative format first.”

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It comes as Iran wants the United States to lift all sanctions and rejects any “step-by-step” easing of restrictions, the foreign ministry said on Saturday ahead of the planned talks.

The comments came as France urged Iran to show a constructive stance in the indirect talks with Washington in the Austrian capital, which will be part of broader negotiations.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Tehran opposed any gradual easing of sanctions.

“No step-by-step plan is being considered,” Khatibzadeh told state broadcaster Press TV. “The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions.”

Former president Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear pact in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting Tehran to breach some of the accord’s nuclear restrictions.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden wants to revive the agreement but Washington and Tehran have been at odds over who should take the first step.

The US State Department has said the focus of the Vienna talks will be on “the nuclear steps that Iran would need to take in order to return to compliance” with the nuclear accord.

Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain – all parties to the 2015 deal – held virtual talks on Friday to discuss the possible return of the United States to the accord.


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Following a call with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that he had asked Iran to avoid further violations of its nuclear commitments.

“I encouraged Iran to be constructive in the discussions that are set to take place,” Le Drian said.

“They are meant to help identify in the coming weeks the steps that will be needed in order to return to full compliance with the nuclear deal.”

In a tweet about the phone call, Zarif said: “I called on France to honor its commitments under the accord, and to cease abiding by illegal sanctions imposed by the US.”

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