US, Iran to begin indirect nuclear-limit talks
The United States and Iran said on April 3 they will begin indirect negotiations with intermediaries next week to try to get both countries back into compliance with an accord limiting Iran's nuclear program, nearly three years after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal.
The announcement marks one of the first bits of tangible progress in efforts to return both nations to terms of the 2015 accord, which bound Iran to restrictions in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions.
President Joe Biden came into office saying that getting back into the accord and getting Iran's nuclear program back under international restrictions was a priority. But Iran and the United States have disagreed over Iran's demands that sanctions be lifted first, and that deadlock has threatened to become an early foreign policy setback for the new U.S. president.
Administration officials played down expectations for next week's talks. State Department spokesperson Ned Price called the resumption of negotiations, scheduled for Tuesday in Vienna, "a healthy step forward." But Price added, "These remain early days, and we don't anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead."
"This is a first step," Biden Iran envoy Rob Malley tweeted. He said diplomats were now "on the right path."
Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018, accusing Iran of continuous cheating and opting for what he called a maximum-pressure campaign of stepped-up U.S. sanctions and other tough actions. Iran responded by intensifying its enrichment of uranium and building of centrifuges in plain violation of the accord, while maintaining its insistence that its nuclear development was for civilian and not military purposes...