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United States declares readiness to join negotiations to resume Iran nuclear deal

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WASHINGTON (AP) The Biden administration said Thursday it was ready to join negotiations with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal. It also undermined the resolve of the Trump administrations that all UN sanctions against Iran had been reinstated and relaxed strict restrictions on domestic travel to the United States by Iranian diplomats assigned to the United Nations.

The State Department said the United States would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of participants in the original agreement. The United States has not attended a meeting of these participants since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018.

The United States would accept an invitation from the high representative of the European Union to attend a meeting of the P5 + 1 and Iran to discuss the diplomatic path to be taken on the Iranian nuclear program, the spokesperson said. State Department Ned Price in a statement.

Such an invitation has not yet been issued but is expected shortly, following discussions on Thursday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his British, French and German counterparts.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trumps in September 2020 from invoking the so-called recovery mechanism under which it maintained that all UN sanctions against the Iran had been re-imposed. This determination had been vigorously contested by almost all other members of the United Nations and had left the United States isolated within the world organization.

In another move, officials said the administration had relaxed extremely strict limits on travel by Iranian diplomats accredited to the United Nations. The Trump administration had imposed severe restrictions, which essentially confined them to their UN mission and the UN headquarters building in New York.

Earlier Thursday, Blinken and the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France urged Iran to allow continued UN nuclear inspections and stop nuclear activities that have failed. no credible civilian use. They warned that Iran’s actions could threaten delicate efforts to bring the United States back into the 2015 deal and end sanctions damaging the Iranian economy.

Iran is playing with fire, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who took part in talks in Paris with his British and French counterparts on Thursday. Blinken had joined by videoconference.

Iran has said it will halt part of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspections of its nuclear facilities next week if the West does not implement its own commitments under the accord. 2015. The deal has collapsed since Trump pulled the United States out of the deal.

Blinken reiterated that if Iran returns to strictly honoring its commitments … the United States will do the same, according to a joint statement after Thursday’s meeting that reflected closer transatlantic positions on Iran since the President Joe Biden has taken office.

Diplomats noted the dangerous nature of a decision to limit IAEA access and urged Iran to consider the consequences of such serious action, especially at this time of new diplomatic opportunities.

They said Iran’s decision to produce uranium enriched up to 20% and uranium metal has no credible civilian use.

The 2015 agreement aims to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies seeking such an arsenal.

We are the ones who have kept this deal alive for the past few years, and now it’s about supporting the United States in resuming the deal, Maas told reporters in Paris.

The measures which have been taken in Tehran and which could be taken in the days to come are anything but useful. They are endangering the Americans’ path to this agreement. The more pressure there is, the more politically difficult it will be to find a solution, he said.

Iranian threats are very worrying, said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, stressing the need to re-engage diplomatically in order to contain Iran, but also to bring it back into compliance.

Diplomats also expressed concern over human rights violations in Iran and its ballistic missile program.

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani expressed hope on Thursday that the Biden administration will join the deal and lift the U.S. sanctions Washington reimposed under Trump, state television reported.

Tehran has used its breaches of the nuclear deal to pressure the remaining signatories, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, to push further on Iran to offset crippling sanctions .

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the European Council met this week with Rouhani to try to end the diplomatic impasse. The IAEA chief is due to visit Iran this weekend to find a solution allowing the agency to continue inspections.

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Geir Moulson in Berlin and Angela Charlton and Masha Macpherson in Paris contributed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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