Nuclear deal: Iran ready to talk if US lifts sanctions
Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday, Reuters reports.
US President Donald Trump’s administration has said it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on
In reaction, Tehran said it would scale back its commitments under the deal, under which it had agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from US and other economic sanctions that had crippled its economy. Defying a warning by the European parties to the pact to continue its full compliance, Tehran has amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted and has started to enrich uranium above the 3.67% permitted by the agreement. The risks are such that it is necessary for all stakeholders to pause, and consider the possible consequences of their actions,” France, Britain and Germany, which have been trying to salvage the pact by shielding Tehran’s economy from sanctions, said in their statement. Iranian clerical rulers have said that Tehran will further decrease its commitments if Europeans fail to fulfil their promises to guarantee Iran’s interests under the deal. The nuclear deal aimed to extend the amount of time it would theoretically take Iran to produce enough fissile material for an atomic bomb – so-called breakout time – from several months to a minimum of one year until 2025. Iran denies ever having considered developing atomic weapons. There have been two signs in the past week that the United States may be signalling greater openness to diplomacy. US officials told Reuters on Thursday that Washington had decided for now not to sanction Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s June 24 statement he would be blacklisted that week. On Sunday, US officials said they had given Zarif a US visa to attend a UN meeting this week. Iran’s mission to the United Nations said he had arrived in New York. Pompeo told the Washington Post he had granted the visa but restricted Zarif’s movements while in New York, allowing him only to travel between UN headquarters and the Iranian mission six blocks away, and to the residence of Iran’s U.N. ambassador. Pompeo declined comment when asked whether he or other US officials would try to speak with Zarif this week or at the U.N. General Assembly in September, the Washington Post reported. While accusing Zarif of exploiting US freedom of the press to “spread malign propaganda,” the US secretary of state told the newspaper he would accept any offer to appear on Iranian television.