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Iran ready to resume talks on nuclear deal, but not under Western ‘pressure,’ Raisi says

Ebrahim Raisi speaks at a political rally in Iran. (Hossein Razaqnejad, Wikimedia Commons released)
September 06, 2021

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

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal are on his government’s agenda, but that they should not be held under “pressure” from Western countries.

Raisi told state television on September 4 that his government is “pursuing outcome-oriented negotiations.”

France and Germany — the two European Union countries in the deal — have urged Iran to return to negotiations after a break in talks following Iranian elections in June that brought Raisi to power.

Iran does not hesitate to talk and negotiate, Raisi said. “But the Americans and the Westerners are looking for dialogue with pressure,” he said.

“I ordered negotiations to be on the agenda, but not with the pressure they are pursuing,” he added.

Six rounds of talks on reviving the 2015 deal have been held in Vienna since April.

In August, France, Germany, and Britain voiced grave concerns about reports that Iran had produced uranium enriched to 20 percent fissile purity, raising fears that Tehran might be pursuing nuclear weapons.

Later in the month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed the reports that Iran had for the first time produced 20 percent pure metal uranium and said it had significantly increased its production capacity for 60 percent enriched uranium.

The nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), limits Tehran to refining uranium to 3.67 percent.

Iran, which says its nuclear ambitions are purely for civilian purposes, said it informs the IAEA about its activities. It also has said that its moves away from the deal would be reversed if the United States returned to the accord and lifted sanctions.

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said in July that “enough has been negotiated and now is the time for countries to decide.” After six rounds, he said, “We are almost nearing its final stages.”

Under the deal between Iran and Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the United States, Tehran agreed to suspend many of its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal and called for a broader agreement to include Iran’s regional activities and missile program. President Joe Biden, who defeated Trump last year, has said that he wants Washington to rejoin the nuclear deal.