Biden administration offers talks with Iran over nuclear deal

Iran's Rouhani government has demanded an end to the sanctions before joining the US at the negotiating table.

UPDATED: Feb 19, 2021, 10:49 AM(IST)

In an attempt to salvage the nuclear deal, US President Biden’s administration offered talks with Iran to be led by European allies.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program.”

The P5 consists of the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China, including Germany. The US under the former Trump administration had walked out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and had imposed stiff sanctions against Iran. The Rouhani government has demanded an end to the sanctions before joining the US at the negotiating table.

In a bid to cool temperatures, the Biden administration allowed Iranian diplomats to be treated like those from other nations who have poor relations with the US. Iranian authorities will have to seek permission from the US if diplomats venture beyond the 40-kilometre radius.

Earlier, Iranian diplomats in New York were disallowed from all but a few blocks around the UN and its missions.

The recent moves come as IAEA chief Rafael Grossi travels to Iran on Saturday for talks to find a solution to the nuclear crisis.

Iran has said it will restrict some inspections by the IAEA if the United States does not lift sanctions imposed since 2018 by Sunday.

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “Instead of sophistry and putting onus on Iran, E3/EU must abide by own commitments and demand an end to Trump’s legacy of economic terrorism against Iran.”

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