US welcomes Iran meeting, says ready for 'mutual steps'

US welcomes Iran meeting, says ready for 'mutual steps'
2 min read
Washington responded positively to a meeting announced by the European Union with Iran.
The European Union announced virtual talks on Friday [Getty]
The United States on Thursday welcomed a meeting announced by the European Union with Iran and said it was ready to take "mutual steps" to return to a nuclear deal.

"We obviously welcome this as a positive step," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

The European Union announced virtual talks on Friday of the nations that remain in the 2015 deal - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran - in anticipation of a US return.

President Joe Biden supports the agreement that was trashed by his predecessor Donald Trump but the new administration has insisted that Iran first return to full compliance.

"We are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same," Price said, using the acronym for the deal's formal name.

The United States is speaking to partners "about the best way to achieve this, including through a series of initial mutual steps," Price said.

Read also: Iran rejects leaked US proposal for return to nuclear deal

"We've been looking at options for doing so, including with indirect conversations through our European partners," he said, with the Biden administration yet to meet directly with Tehran.

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.”

Agencies contributed to this report.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected