Vienna talks setting stage for US’ return to JCPOA

The US State Department said that its goal of Tuesday’s talks in Vienna is to set the stage for a mutual return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but does not anticipate an immediate breakthrough.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Monday during a press briefing that Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley will lead the US delegation to Vienna, where Washington and Tehran will hold in-direct talks on Tuesday over respective steps to revive the nuclear deal, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Our goal of these talks in Vienna is to set the stage for that mutual return to compliance,” Price said.

“We don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough as these discussions we fully expect will be difficult.

“The original formulation is one that still holds today. It’s the limited lifting of sanctions, nuclear sanctions, in return for permanent and verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program,” the spokesman added.

Price reiterated the US would not “entertain unilateral gestures or concessions to induce Iran to a better place”.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged that the US is approaching the talks with Iran “with “urgency” as Tehran continued to take steps away from the deal.

“We are not seeking to drag these talks on any longer than necessary come about, we’re also not going to cut corners, given the profound stakes that are at play here,” he added.

Washington withdrew from the deal in 2018 and tightened sanctions on Iran under former President Donald Trump.

In response to the US moves, Iran suspended the implementation of parts of its obligations under the deal.

The two countries are in a standoff over reviving the nuclear deal.

The Joe Biden administration has said that if Iran returns to full compliance with the JCPOA, Washington would do the same.

But Iran insists its full compliance will only take place once US sanctions are removed.