Officials: US open to discussing wider deal with Iran

Western officials believe Iran may wish to discuss a wider road map to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Elad Benari ,

Iran
Iran
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Western officials believe Iran may wish to discuss a wider road map to revive the 2015 nuclear deal after efforts to sketch out initial US and Iranian steps to resume compliance with the agreement have stalled, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

US President Joe Biden’s aides initially believed Iran, with which they have not had direct discussions, wanted to talk about first steps toward a revival of the agreement.

The agreement would have eased economic sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs to the Iranian nuclear program designed to make it harder to develop an atomic weapon.

Three Western officials said the Biden administration and Iran had mainly communicated indirectly via European parties to the deal - Britain, France and Germany - and that they believe Iran now wants to discuss a broader plan to return to the pact.

“What we had heard was that they were interested first in a series of initial steps, and so we were exchanging ideas on a series of initial steps” a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters.

“It sounds from what we are hearing publicly now, and through other means, that they may be ... not interested in (discussing) initial steps but in a road map for return to full compliance,” he said.

“If that’s what Iran wants to talk about, we are happy to talk about it,” the US official added.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in May of 2018.

Biden has expressed a desire to return to the deal but has stressed that Iran must resume compliance with it before any negotiations on a US return to the agreement.

The US recently accepted Europe's offer to mediate conversations with Iran regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran, however, rejected the proposal, claiming that the “time was not right” to hold such talks.

On Monday, it was reported that Biden is planning to put forth a new proposal to jump-start talks with Iran.

The proposal asks Iran to halt some of its nuclear activities, such as work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, in exchange for some relief from US economic sanctions.



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