Iran-US nuclear talks are set to resume “in the coming days,” Tehran and the EU say

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DUBAI, June 25 (Reuters) – Iran’s indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact will soon resume, Iran’s foreign minister said on Saturday amid a push by the European Union’s top diplomat to break a months-long deadlock Negotiations.

“We stand ready to resume talks in the coming days. It is important for Iran to take full advantage of the economic benefits of the 2015 deal,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said, adding that he held a “long but positive meeting” with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said he could not comment on the status of the negotiations.

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“But nothing has changed in our position that a nuclear deal is the best way to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapon status,” Kirby told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One. “We want to reconcile them.”

The pact appeared on the verge of a resurgence in March, when the EU – which is coordinating the negotiations – invited foreign ministers representing the parties to the deal to Vienna to meet after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and President Joe Biden‘s administration conclude agreements.

But talks have since stalled, largely over Tehran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite security force, from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list.

“We are expected to resume talks and break the impasse in the coming days. It’s been three months and we need to speed up the work. I am very pleased with the decision that was made in Tehran and Washington,” Borrell told a television news conference in Tehran.

Two officials, one Iranian and one European, told Reuters ahead of Borrell’s trip that “two issues, including one on sanctions, remain to be resolved,” commenting on comments that Iran’s foreign ministry has neither confirmed nor denied.

“We have agreed to resume negotiations between Iran and the US in the coming days, supported by my team, to resolve the remaining outstanding issues,” Borrell said.

“And the days to come mean days to come. I mean, quickly, immediately.”

In 2018, then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

US withdrawal and re-imposition of crippling sanctions prompted Iran to begin violating its core nuclear borders about a year later.

Western powers fear Iran is getting closer to making a nuclear bomb if it decides to do so, though Iran says its intentions are entirely peaceful.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, which makes decisions in the nuclear talks, told Borrell that Iran will continue to develop its nuclear program until the West changes its “illegal behavior.” Continue reading

“Iran’s retaliatory actions in the nuclear sector are merely legal and rational responses to US unilateralism and European inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices are not changed,” Shamkhani said without elaborating.

And despite the impending resumption of talks, Borrell appeared to downplay the possibility of a quick deal.

“I can’t predict it… We’re pushing it. I appreciate the good will on the Iranian side. There is also goodwill from the American side,” Borrell said in a news conference on an EU website.

“Talks between Iran, the US and the EU will not take place in Vienna because they will not take place in the 4+1 format … they will probably take place somewhere closer to the Persian Gulf and more specifically in a Persian Gulf state, “, Iranian media quoted Borrell as saying.

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writing by Parisa Hafezi; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal aboard Air Force One; Edited by Frank Jack Daniel and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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