U.S. to negotiate indirect nuclear deal Iran swiftly counters

The Biden administration announced Friday (April 2) that the authorities will begin indirect nuclear deal negotiations with Iran next week, with other world powers acting as intermediaries. In response, Iran hit back, making it clear that it is not prepared to participate in the negotiations.

A State Department spokesman told Fox that the U.S. plans to meet with representatives from Europe, Russia and China next Tuesday (April 6) in Vienna, Austria, to “determine the issues involved in a mutual return to compliance with the [nuclear deal].

A diplomat familiar with the discussions said they had controlled expectations that the meeting would take place, but Iran quickly countered that there were no plans for direct talks between Iranian and U.S. officials.

U.S. media outlet Fox sees the talks as a sign that the Biden administration plans to move in the opposite direction of former President Donald Trump. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and has long said the agreement with Tehran was one of the worst, full of “decay and rot. The Trump administration has said that instead of making it more difficult for Iran to develop nuclear weapons because of the deal, it has used funding from the agreement to support terrorist attacks in places like Syria and Yemen.

The Biden administration defended the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and announced that a return to a similar agreement “would be a major geopolitical advance.”

“These talks will be conducted by a working group assembled by the European Union with the remaining participants in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), including Iran,” a State Department spokesman said.

“We do not currently anticipate direct talks between the U.S. and Iran through this process, although the U.S. remains open to these talks.”

However, Iran’s state-run Press TV reported Friday, citing sources, that Iran has said it will reject any indirect talks or a “gradual lifting of sanctions.”

“According to the irrevocable guidelines of Iran’s (Supreme) Leader, any outcome of the (nuclear deal committee) based on the idea of a gradual lifting of sanctions or indirect talks with the United States will not be accepted,” the source said, the country’s Press TV website reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that no meeting was planned between Iranian and U.S. officials.

In a tweet, Zarif said the purpose of the Vienna meeting was “to quickly finalize the removal of all sanctions and nuclear measures and then (ask) Iran to stop taking remedial measures.”

U.S. media outlet Breitbart disclosed that on March 29, Biden had offered Iran a partial sanctions waiver in exchange for a suspension of some of its nuclear activities, but that Iran had countered.

Iranian state television quoted Iranian officials as saying that Iran would not stop 20 percent of its nuclear activities related to uranium enrichment until all U.S. sanctions were lifted. Officials said Iran could exchange a one-month halt in uranium enrichment for the lifting of all U.S. sanctions. The U.S. side denounced the claim as lacking sincerity in negotiations and more of a counter-attack.

On Iran, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon said late last year that he thought the withdrawal from the nuclear deal was appropriate. Danon said he did not want to see the Biden administration rejoin the Iran nuclear deal “because the facts tell us that it’s a bad deal” and “what the Iranians have done over the last few years makes it clear to us that they are not complying with the deal.”

Former U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland also previously warned that adopting an appeasement plan of the type that led to the signing of the deal would allow Iran to continue to have nuclear weapons and thus the ability to support terrorist movements.