U.S., European Diplomats Hold Talks On Iran Nuclear Deal

The top diplomats from the United States, Germany, France, and Britain are holding talks on ways to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Washington pulled out of in 2018.

The deal signed by Tehran with the four Western powers, along with China and Russia, called for curbs on Iran’s uranium-enrichment program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

President Donald Trump in May 2018 pulled his country out of the accord and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, saying the terms were not strict enough to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes.

The other signatories have been attempting to save the accord. But since the U.S. pullout, Tehran has increasingly breached limits it had agreed to under the deal.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab met France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian for talks in Paris on February 18. New U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined through a video link.

“The recent steps of Iran are not helpful at all, they endanger the return of the Americans” to the deal, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Paris.

“Apparently Iran is not interested in easing the tensions, but in escalation. They are playing with fire,” he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden has indicated more willingness to deal with Iran than his predecessor did, but he has publicly stated Tehran must adhere to its commitment under the 2015 deal before his administration will discuss the possibility of lifting sanctions.

Blinken said last month he wants to coordinate with U.S. allies to get to a “longer and stronger agreement” with Iran.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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