US set to join talks aimed at salvaging Iran nuclear deal


The United States will on Tuesday join talks in Austria’s capital Vienna aimed at salvaging an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which Washington withdrew from under then-president Donald Trump in 2018.

US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to reverse the decision of his predecessor and return to the 2015 agreement, which was supposed to ensure that Iran did not develop a military nuclear program.

But Iran is demanding an end to crippling sanctions imposed by Trump and has refused to meet US negotiators at the latest talks, meaning European players will act as intermediaries.

Iran confirmed in January it was enriching uranium to 20 percent purity, well beyond the threshold set by the 2015 deal and a short technical jump from weapons-grade enrichment.

Nevertheless, Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group, which monitors conflicts, tweeted that the talks represent “an important marker that both U.S. & Iran are serious about breaking the inertia.”

Since neither side appears willing to take the first step, experts such as Vaez have suggested the negotiators could make a “gesture-for-gesture” deal to break the deadlock.

The European Union will preside over talks between current members of the 2015 pact — Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain — set to begin on Tuesday.

The US delegation will meet in a different place with EU negotiators acting as go-betweens.

Read More: Times of Israel