US formally offers to restart talks with Iran, Washington media report

Washington, Feb 18 (efe-epa).- The Joe Biden administration has formally offered to restart nuclear talks with Iran, according to US media reports on Thursday.

Citing a statement issued by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CNN and The New York Times reported that the official spoke with the British, French and German foreign ministers and said that the 2015 nuclear pact with Tehran, from which former President Donald Trump withdrew Washington in 2018, was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy.

The move by the new US administration comes before either Washington or Tehran have made any tangible moves to try and return to compliance with the agreement.

“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,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement sent to EFE on Thursday.

Blinken had met virtually with his French, British and German counterparts – Jean-Yves Le Drian, Dominic Raab Heiko Maas, respectively – to discuss Iran.

During the meeting, the four officials asked the Islamic Republic about its commitments to enrich uranium and not to limit international inspections of its nuclear installations.

They also warned Iran that curtailing cooperation with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency would be “dangerous,” and they demanded that Tehran take into account the impact that such a “serious” move would have.

Besides the US and Iran, the 2015 accord was signed by the European Union, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

After Washington withdrew from the pact and the Trump administration reimposed all prior economic sanctions on Iran, the accord languished.

A year later, Iran began to gradually cut back on its commitments under the pact and recently, in a clear violation of the limits set forth in the accord, it began enriching uranium to the 20 percent purity level and producing metallic uranium.

The inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20 aroused expectations of a reduction in bilateral tensions since during his presidential campaign he had expressed his desire for the US to rejoin the accord if and when Iran would also abide by its obligations under the pact.

On Feb. 7, Biden said in an interview that he was not going to lift sanctions on Iran unless it stopped enriching uranium.

That same day, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, said that Tehran would return to the accord with the Western powers when the US lifted sanctions.

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