U.S. negotiators from the Biden administration would agree to meet with Iranian counterparts and other signatories of a 2015 nuclear deal to curb Tehran's nuclear program that the Trump administration abandoned, the Associated Press reported Friday.
It is an important move to lay the groundwork for renewing diplomacy that could eventually end the ongoing deadlock between the two countries, both of whom have insisted the other must make the first move. The original multilateral agreement was negotiated by the Obama administration to reduce the prospects Iran could reprocess enough nuclear power fuel to make atomic bombs in part by sending spent fuel to Russia.
Washington withdrew from the accord in 2018 under the Trump administration, which then carried out unilateral sanctions on Iran. But U.S. President Joe Biden said the 2015 nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was effective in monitoring Iran's nuclear activities.
Ned Price, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, said on Thursday that Washington would accept an invitation from a top European Union official to attend a meeting of the nuclear accord's original signatories "to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran's nuclear program."
In addition to suggesting a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also overturned Trump's determination that all UN sanctions against Tehran had been reinstituted. And, it loosened severe restrictions on the local travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the UN.
The U.S. State Department announced the moves after discussions between Secretary of Statey Antony Blinken and his counterparts from France, Britain and Germany as the U.S. President prepares to take part, albeit on livestream in his first major international engagements with global leaders.
"If Iran returns into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the U.S. will do the same and is prepared to participate in talks with Iran toward that end," a joint statement from the four nations read.
It is unclear if Tehran would accept such an overture, Enrique Mora, deputy secretary general for political affairs of European External Action Service, said.
Biden is expected to address the nuclear deal issue in a host of foreign policy events on Friday, a senior administration official said.