© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the Natanz uranium enrichment plant 250 km south of the Iranian capital Tehran
By Richard Lough and William Schomberg
PARIS (Reuters) – The United States stands ready to speak to Iran about their return to compliance with a 2015 agreement that aims to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told European allies on Thursday .
In a joint statement by Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States, European nations welcomed US President Joe Biden’s intention to return to diplomacy with Iran.
Following talks in Paris, which Blinken participated in via video link, they reaffirmed their common goal of returning Iran to full compliance with the commitments known as the JCPOA.
“Secretary Blinken reiterated that, as President Biden said, if Iran again strictly adheres to its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and be ready to hold talks with Iran to this end,” the joint said Statement said.
Iran began violating the deal in 2019 in response to a US withdrawal from the deal under then-President Donald Trump and has been embroiled in a stalemate with Biden’s administration on who should go first to save the deal.
Iran has accelerated its violations in recent months.
Tehran has set a deadline of next week for Biden to begin lifting Trump’s sanctions, or it will take the biggest move yet to break the deal – the ban on short-term inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog are permitted according to an additional protocol.
Britain, France and Germany, known as E3, and the United States called on Iran not to take additional steps “regarding the suspension of the Additional Protocol and any restrictions on IAEA review activities in Iran”.
Ministers said they were determined that Iran should not get a nuclear weapon and “expressed their common concern over recent measures by Iran to produce up to 20% enriched uranium and uranium metal,” the statement added.
It was the second time since Biden took office last month that Blinken held talks with his European counterparts and promised to work more closely with allies than his predecessor.
“We are obviously concerned about the risk of further non-compliance with the JCPOA by Iran,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after the talks. “All the more reason to revive transatlantic diplomacy.”
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said: “I am pleased that the new US administration is returning to the diplomatic path.”
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