Iran says the “time is not right” to hold informal talks with the United States and European countries for reviving 2015 nuclear, asking Washington to “first lift all unilateral sanctions.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that Tehran does not see a positive outcome of talks keeping in mind recent statements by the US and three European countries.
The US, however, expressed “disappointment” on Iran’s response.
A White House spokeswoman said but the US is “ready to reengage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the Iran nuclear deal) commitments.”
Iranian officials had said Tehran was studying a proposal by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to hold an informal meeting with other parties to the nuclear pact and the US, which reimposed sanctions after former president Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018.
Under the accord Iran was curtail its nuclear programme in exchange for a gradual easing of international sanctions. But since the US unilaterally withdrew from the accord and reimposed sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, Iran has stepped up its nuclear work in violation of the JCPOA.
Iran and the Joe Biden administration have been at odds over who should take the first step to revive the accord. Iran insists the US must first lift sanctions while Washington says Tehran must first return to compliance with the deal.
The spokeswoman said the US would consult with its partners who are signatories – China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany – on the best way forward.
IAEA: Earlier on Sunday, Iran urged the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors not to endorse a US-led push to criticise Tehran’s decision to scale back its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.
Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said “if the IAEA’s 35-nation board adopts a resolution against Tehran, we will show an appropriate reaction.”
Diplomats at the IAEA were, however, unsure whether the board would adopt a resolution in its quarterly meeting this week.
On February 23, Tehran stopped implementing the so-called Additional Protocol, which had enabled the IAEA to carry out snap inspections at undeclared locations.
But under a February 21 agreement, Tehran agreed to maintain the recording of extra data as specified by the 2015 deal for up to three months, and to let the IAEA access it at the end if sanctions were lifted.