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It will not be easy, but we have overcome the procedural hurdle, he said in a phone call to reporters before the meetings.

Designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program, the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018, imposing hundreds of sanctions and restrictions which are expected to complicate efforts to get the United States back in line. Complaining that it could not reap the economic benefits of the deal as promised, Iran has also gradually violated its commitments, including increasing enrichment levels and limiting inspections.

The timing of the break-up before Iran is expected to be able to produce enough shredding material for a nuclear weapon, along with the approach of elections in Iran that could lead to a tougher, less diplomatic-leaning government , have added urgency to efforts to reach agreement back on track.

The talks are an important goal for Biden, who campaigned with the promise to return to the 2015 deal. But the timing and structure of the meetings represent a disappointment for those hoping for a swift and muscular US engagement with Iran. .

Approaching three months in office, Biden has not made any bold gestures to rejoin the deal, and the United States and Iran remain publicly at odds. He rarely mentions the deal unless asked to do so directly. The blizzard approach contrasts with Bidens’ rapid pace in providing legislation and initiatives to address domestic priorities, including the eradication of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences.

Bidens’ advisers also appear divided over whether reuniting the deal is the best way to contain Iran’s nuclear program, especially as some of its provisions begin to expire quickly. Biden has said he wants to use the existing agreement to reach a broader and stronger agreement, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others have not ruled out other options.

Iran has backtracked on suggestions for renegotiation or enlargement, insisting that Washington return to the agreement it signed.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Tuesday, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said Iran was not optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome of the talks. But we are confident we are on the right track, he said in comments published by Reuters. And if America wants, seriousness and honesty proven, this could be a good sign for a better future for this agreement and ultimately its full implementation.

Asked if Biden is disappointed that the talks had not come sooner and were fully face to face, White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned of patience.

Diplomacy can take time and sometimes it is not at the pace that everyone would prefer, she said on Monday. And of course we have experience, just like the one that has been in the Obama-Biden administration for the time it took to work through a diplomatic process.

Psaki would not predict how long the talks would last, or whether they could end before Iran’s June elections that could change the landscape for Iranian participation. Bidens’s special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, will lead the US delegation.

The indirect structure, with the European powers serving as liaisons, is still, in our opinion, a step towards diplomacy and this remains our first objective, Psaki said.

Biden has not warned from a tough public line that Iran should suspend nuclear activities that violate the agreement before the United States waives sanctions for Trump to impose again. Iran, however, has insisted that Washington should be the first to move and lift its sanctions.

The agenda of the meetings is the lifting of all cruel US sanctions, said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh at his weekly press conference on Monday, according to comments made by Iran Press TV. The path is clear, he said, adding that only then would Iran return to its commitments.

But European diplomats say they will negotiate a list of moves for each side in parallel in order to overcome arguments as to which side acts first. The plan is for Tehran and Washington to then implement the coordination steps.

We certainly expect that the key issues to be discussed in the coming days are the nuclear steps that Iran will need to take in order to return to compliance with the JCPOA terms and the sanctions easing steps that the United States will need to take. take in order to also return in line, Psaki said.

Sometimes the overlapping layers of economic sanctions imposed during the Trump administrations’ transition to a campaign of maximum pressure on Tehran make the task ahead particularly complicated.

“Both Trump administration officials and the regime change lobby here in Washington were and still are very clear that the goal was to make it as difficult as possible for a successor administration to lift sanctions to make it difficult both bureaucratically and politically,” he said. Countryman, former Obama administration official.

State Department spokesman Ned Price also downplayed expectations for rapid progress.

We do not underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead. These are early days. We do not anticipate early or immediate progress, as these discussions that we fully anticipate will be difficult. But we believe that these discussions with our partners and, in turn, our partners with Iran is a healthy step forward.

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