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Iran rules out any negotiations with US unless sanctions lifted

Abbas Araqchi (Japanese Government Photo/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran says it will not engage in negotiations with the United States at the planned talks in Vienna next week on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers.

“We will not talk directly or indirectly with the United States in Vienna,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on April 4, denying reports that indirect negotiations would take place between the two countries.

“Iran’s policy in this regard is clear and simple: the United States must return to the Vienna nuclear agreement, fulfil the deal in accordance with the treaty, and lift sanctions against Iran,” said Araqchi, who heads the Iranian delegation.

On April 3, Iran’s Foreign Ministry rejected any “step-by-step” lifting of sanctions imposed against it, saying “the definitive policy of Iran is the lifting of all U.S. sanctions.”

Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and Iran will take part in the EU-brokered talks in Vienna on April 6. The six countries have remained in the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which bound Iran to nuclear restrictions in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions.

The United States unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, who reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran.

Iran reacted by gradually reducing its commitments under the deal, including higher uranium enrichment.

U.S. President Joe Biden has signaled his readiness to revive the accord, but his administration says Iran must first return to its nuclear commitments.