Thursday, December 2, 2021

Iran agrees to resume talks on nuclear program

Iran said Wednesday that it will resume talks with world powers on its nuclear power development program by the end of November.

There was no immediate confirmation of new negotiations from other participants in the 2015 international pact aimed at curbing Tehran’s development of nuclear weapons.

Then the agreement included the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union, but former US President Donald Trump withdrew from it in 2018 and re-imposed economic sanctions against Iran.

Trump said at the time the terms of the deal weren’t tough enough to contain Tehran’s nuclear program.

Since then, Iran has said it has increased its uranium enrichment to a 60% purity level, but not to a 90% enrichment level, which is considered weapons grade. Iran has consistently denied in recent years that it intends to assemble nuclear weapons, and claims that its development of nuclear weapons is carried out for peaceful purposes.

On Wednesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri, who is Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator, tweeted: “We agree to start negotiations by the end of November. The exact date will be announced within the next week. ”

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Following the election of a hardliner in Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi, the EU and world powers have found it difficult to resume negotiations.

US President Joe Biden said he was ready to resume negotiations if Iran wishes to adhere to its earlier commitments under the nuclear agreement and stop accelerated uranium enrichment.

But the negotiations in Vienna between the United States and Iran, conducted through intermediaries, did not make much headway before being cut short by Raisi’s election. Negotiations have been suspended for the last four months.

Robert Malley, US special envoy to Iran, warned Iran on Monday that the US did not disclose “other options” if Iranian nuclear work moves forward, although he said the Biden administration preferred diplomacy.

Some of the material for this article came from Agence France Presse and Reuters.

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