Return to nuclear deal

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addresses in a conference in Tehran Iran Tuesday Feb. 23 2021

Washington (CNN)The members of the Iran nuclear deal and the United States will visit Vienna next week in the first effort to kickstart face-to-face negotiations to salvage the pact since the Biden administration came into office, a senior administration official said.

The statement comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced earlier on Friday that the U.S. would not take part in talks on the JCPOA, scheduled for next week in Vienna.

In a statement, the European Union announced a meeting of the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name of the Iran nuclear deal.

New US President Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the agreement on condition Iran first returns to respecting the commitments abandoned in retaliation for Trump pulling out.

"In line with the joint ministerial statement of 21 December participants recognised the prospect of a full return of the U.S.to the JCPOA, and underlined their readiness to positively address this in a joint effort", the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in a statement.

Tehran has said that it would resume its own compliance with the JCPOA once the lifting of sanctions has been verified.

Iran and the major world powers participating in the agreement to keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons said Friday they were ready to welcome the return of the United States to the deal.

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Zarif tweeted that Tehran plans to hold an in-person meeting with the remaining signatories to the JCPOA, namely, representatives of the EU, France, Germany, the UK, China, and Russian Federation in Vienna on 6 April.

Participants will meet in the Austrian capital "to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups", a statement said. "The party that has started this process has to go back and Iran will immediately go back", Zarif told Politico, in an apparent nod to the US.

USA will take part in a meeting in Vienna next week on the Iran nuclear deal. He stressed that a meeting between Iran and the USA was "unnecessary" at this point.

Russia's ambassador to worldwide organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that Friday's session went well and the parties were prepared to talk further.

"The U.S. can return to the deal and stop breaching the law in the same way it withdrew from the deal and imposed illegal sanctions on Iran", Araghchi was quoted as as saying.

The ultimate goal of the deal is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, something it insists it doesn't want to do.

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