Iran to refuse 'direct or indirect' talks with US at Vienna meeting

Iran to refuse 'direct or indirect' talks with US at Vienna meeting
Iran's deputy foreign minister said Tehran will refuse 'direct or indirect' talks with the US in Vienna on Tuesday.
2 min read
05 April, 2021
Abbas Araqchi is Iran's deputy foreign minister [Getty]
Iran will refuse direct or indirect talks with United States representatives in a meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the nuclear agreement of 2015, the country's chief negotiator said on Sunday.

On Friday, in a landmark announcement, the US and Iran agreed to hold indirect talks in Vienna regarding Iran's nuclear programme.

The talks are part of a wider effort to return to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal agreed by world powers as tensions between Iran and the US over Tehran's nuclear programme continue.

But Iran on Sunday backtracked on the decision to hold indirect talks with the US, saying it will only communicate with the P4+1 countries, which include four permanent members of the UN Security Council - UK, France, Russia, China - plus Germany.

"We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4+1 countries, and will communicate them our request and condition for a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)," deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in an interview quoted by official news agency IRNA.

The US is the only permanent member of the Security Council to not be directly included in the bloc after former President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA deal and re-imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018. 

Araqchi demanded that Washington lifts all sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for Tehran returning to full compliance with the agreement.

If the P4+1 countries succeed in convincing the US to lift all the sanctions "by any means they know", Iran will also comply, he added.

Araqchi echoed foreign ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh in saying that Iran will refuse any step-by-step plan to revive the agreement.

Tehran will only move forward if the Washington-imposed sanctions are lifted at once, he asserted. 

"The final step that they must take, and we must take must be defined precisely, and this will only take place in our technical talks with the P4+1 countries," the deputy minister added.

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