Iran is ready to resume indirect talks with the US in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, Tehran’s top negotiator said Wednesday after talks with EU officials in Brussels.
“We have agreed to start negotiations by the end of November. The exact date will be announced next week,” Ali Bagheri Kani wrote on Twitter.
Responding to the news, the US called on Iran to show “good faith” in the negotiations. “We are prepared to return to Vienna, and we believe that it remains possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on return to mutual full compliance,” a State Department official said.
The Vienna talks first started in April and were dragged out until June 20th due to the Biden administration’s refusal to lift all Trump-era sanctions. The negotiations concluded around the time Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi was elected, and the new Iranian government has been reviewing the initial rounds of talks.
When the talks concluded in June, the US and Iran remained far apart on key issues. Iran wanted a guarantee from the US that it wouldn’t withdraw from the JCPOA again as the Trump administration did in 2018. But a recent report from Responsible Statecraft revealed that President Biden wouldn’t even commit to staying in the JCPOA during his first term in office.
The US and its Western allies blame Iran for the delay in negotiations, but Raisi has good reasons to doubt that the US is serious about reviving the JCPOA and giving Iran sanctions relief. The Biden administration has even imposed more Iran-related sanctions while waiting for the next round of negotiations.
Besides the hardline stance on sanctions, Biden officials have been coordinating closely with Israel on Iran. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid hinted at military action against Iran.