The United States and three European powers agreed Friday, during consultations in Paris, to Iran urgently needs to return to nuclear talks, amid growing concern about the delay.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said US envoy on Iran Rob Malley had spoken with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany about how diplomacy could continue to “provide the most effective course” on Iran.
“We are united in the belief that negotiations should resume in Vienna as quickly as possible, and resume precisely where they left off after the sixth round,” Price told reporters in Washington.
Earlier, France urged Iran to curb its “unprecedented danger” nuclear activities. “It is urgent and necessary for Iran to stop its activities of unprecedented gravity in violation of the agreement, and to immediately resume full cooperation” with the International Atomic Energy Agency, said French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Logand.
Iran and six major powers (the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany) reached an agreement in 2015 on Tehran’s nuclear program, which allowed for the lifting of many sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, in exchange for restricting its nuclear activities and ensuring the peace of its program. However, the effects of the agreement have become null and void since the United States decided to unilaterally withdraw from it in 2018, during the era of its former president, Donald Trump, who re-imposed severe sanctions on Tehran.
About a year after the US withdrawal from the agreement, Iran has gradually retreated from implementing most of its basic obligations under it.
The forces that are still affiliated with the agreement, with indirect American participation, began talks in Vienna this year in an attempt to revive the agreement, after the new US President Joe Biden expressed his willingness to return his country to it.
The parties concerned held six rounds of talks between April and June, without specifying a new date for their resumption.
Rob Malley is visiting Paris after a Gulf tour that took him to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
For its part, the French Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that the talks will take place at a “critical stage” at a time when France and other countries are still ready to resume the Vienna talks.
“In the meantime, it is urgent and essential for Iran to stop its grave violations to an unprecedented extent” of the nuclear agreement, the statement added, calling on Iran to resume full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency “without delay.”
On Tuesday, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, expressed his concern that he was not able to meet with senior Iranian officials, contrary to what was stipulated in an agreement concluded on September 12 between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic.
On that day, the agency reached an agreement with Tehran on a new compromise over the control of Iran’s nuclear program, which revived hope that the Vienna talks, which had been stalled since the election of hard-line conservative Ebrahim Raisi, as Iran’s president in June, could be resumed.