Indirect talks between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, will resume Saturday in Vienna, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said on Friday.
“The participants are expected to continue consultations on the possible return of the United States to the nuclear accord and ensuring the full and effective implementation of this agreement,” said Abbas Araqchi.
The talks have been ongoing since April and will enter their sixth-round Saturday. The process is being dragged out because the Biden administration refuses to lift all Trump-era sanctions on Iran.
On Thursday, the US lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies that had previously traded Iranian oil. US officials insisted the move had nothing to do with the Vienna talks. Either way, it could have been a small sign of goodwill, but the US ruined whatever positive signal it could have sent by slapping more sanctions on an Iranian network it accused of funding Yemen’s Houthis.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh took aim at the US move in comments on Friday. “Selective US delistings are neither related to JCPOA talks nor viewed as signals of goodwill — specially when coupled with renewed economic terrorism,” he wrote on Twitter.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been sending bad signals to Iran leading up to the next round of talks. On Tuesday, Blinken said even if the US rejoins the JCPOA, “hundreds” of sanctions would remain on Iran, including Trump-era measures.