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People's Daily Online

U.S. says Vienna nuclear talks productive, voicing hope for more "constructive attitude" from Iran

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:16, April 10, 2021

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Xinhua) -- A senior U.S. official said Friday that the Vienna talks over the Iran nuclear deal were productive, and hoped that Tehran would show a more constructive attitude in talks scheduled next week.

The indirect talks between the United States and Iran over respective steps to revive the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were just preliminary steps but "productive and businesslike," a senior state department official told reporters in a phone briefing.

"At the same time, a question still remains about whether the seriousness of purpose and the intent of coming back into compliance that the U.S. showed will be reciprocated by Iran," the official said. "We saw some signs of but certainly not enough."

The official reiterated that Washington is prepared to lift those sanctions that are inconsistent with the nuclear deal.

"Without getting into specifics, I would say that that's our position, all sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA and are inconsistent with the benefits that Iran expects from the JCPOA, we are prepared to lift," the official said, but adding "that doesn't mean all of them because there are some that are legitimate sanctions."

Also on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that all sanctions imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump were "anti-JCPOA" and must be removed.

"Iran proposes a logical path to full JCPOA compliance: the United States, which caused this crisis, should return to full compliance first," he said.

The senior U.S. official told reporters that "if Iran sticks to the position that every sanction that has been imposed since 2017 has to be lifted or there will be no deal, then we're heading towards an impasse."

The official also expressed his frustration about the indirect talks over sanctions issues as Europeans shuttled between U.S. and Iranian delegations.

"It would be infinitely easier if we had direct conversations with Iran ... It's impossible for the EU to have a discussion about our sanctions," the official said.

The official noted that the parties of the Iran nuclear deal would reconvene next week in Vienna, to clarify steps that Washington and Tehran need to take to revive the deal.

"Our hope is that we'll see from Iran greater indication of what they're prepared to do and greater indication that they will take a constructive attitude in getting there," he said.

The JCPOA was reached in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, plus Germany) together with the EU. Tehran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear weapons program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions.

Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 and tightened sanctions on Iran under the Trump administration. In response, Iran suspended the implementation of parts of its obligations under the deal.

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