US 'open' to Iran's suggestion of 'wider nuclear deal'

US 'open' to Iran's suggestion of 'wider nuclear deal roadmap'
2 min read
Western diplomats believe that the US is open to Iran's suggestions on a wider nuclear deal roadmap.
Iran has said it will not return to JCPOA's terms until sanctions are lifted [Getty]
The US is open to Iran's suggestions for a wider nuclear roadmap following the failure of initial steps to re-engage with Tehran, Western officials have said.

Three Western officials who spoke to Reuters said the two sides had mostly communicated through the UK, France and Germany - the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal.

"What we had heard was that they were interested first in a series of initial steps, and so we were exchanging ideas on a series of initial steps," said one US official quoted by Reuters.

"It sounds from what we are hearing publicly now, and through other means, that they may be... not interested in (discussing) initial steps but in a road map for return to full compliance.

"If that's what Iran wants to talk about, we are happy to talk about it," the official added.

After taking office in January, the Biden administration had initially believed that Tehran would want to discuss reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - a 2015 deal which saw Iran impose limits on its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

In response, Iran began exceeding uranium enrichment limits set in the accord. A recent IAEA report also noted that Tehran has started using a new type of centrifuge to enrich uranium.

Despite a new administration now being in the White House, however, Iran has continued to exceed limits set in the accord.

Iran's most recent breaches of the deal are seen as part of a campaign to pressure US President Joe Biden to make the first move in reviving the JCPOA.

Earlier this month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Iran would return to the terms of the 2015 accord if sanctions are lifted.

"If sanctions are... really canceled, we will return to our obligations without any problems," Khamenei said. "We have a lot of patience and we are not in a hurry."

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