Iran to return to talks on nuclear deal soon, minister says
Iran will return to talks on reviving the deal curbing its nuclear programme “very soon,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday.
At a breakfast with reporters in New York, the top Iranian diplomat said his nation sees negotiations as part of diplomacy but the US continues to send contradictory signals. He said President Joe Biden keeps damaging trade sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump “close to his heart.”
Amirabdollahian said the US continues to block access to funds in South Korean and Japanese banks that could be used to buy vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic.
The Iranian minister also cited what he described as a constructive dialogue with the Islamic Republic’s neighbours, including Saudi Arabia, its rival for regional influence. He said understandings are being sought on their competing roles in Yemen and Iraq.
The US and Western powers have warned Iran that time is running out to revive the 2015 nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saying Iran’s progress in enriching nuclear material is eroding the gains that a return to the agreement would enshrine.
The return of Iran and the US to the terms of the deal, which Trump abandoned, has been a key issue discussed by world leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
In a video speech to the assembly on Tuesday, the country’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, reiterated demands that “all oppressive sanctions” against Iran be removed, saying the US was using them as a new means of warfare.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in New York on Thursday that the nuclear accord can still be saved but time is running out. “With every passing day, as Iran continues to take actions that are not in compliance with the agreement - particularly building larger stockpiles of highly enriched uranium to 20%, even to 60%, and spinning faster centrifuges,” he said, at some point “Iran will have made too much progress in its programme that would not be reversed simply by returning to the terms of JCPOA.”
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