US removes two Iranian firms from sanctions list
Tehran-based Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary, Mammut Diesel Company, were targeted by US sanctions under former President Donald Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign, which aimed to force Iran back to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear programme.
Under the campaign, Trump also unilaterally withdrew the US from a landmark 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers. In response, Iran began exceeding the limits of the deal, which was put in place to limit its nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.
The move on Friday by the Biden administration comes amid efforts from Washington and Tehran to re-engage in direct negotiations and revive the accord.b Indirect talks between two parties came to a close in June after several disagreements on key issues.
In recent days, however, both Washington and Tehran have indicated a willingness for talks in Vienna to resume shortly.
"We are coming back to the Vienna talks," Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday.
"We are nearing a final decision within the Iranian government. It is very important to the new government that the interests and rights of the Iranian people be fully guaranteed in the talks. We will not waste our time in negotiations."
US President Joe Biden has signalled a willingness to return to the deal, but his Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned last week that time was running out and the ball was in Iran's court.