European negotiators talk up hope of breakthrough at Iran nuclear meetings

The United States is not formally part of the meetings that took place in Vienna earlier this year. But President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled its willingness to join the deal on terms that would result in the US largely scaling back sanctions on Tehran and Iran in order to comply with the restrictions on its nuclear activity contained in the 2015 deal.

“The EU will continue talks with all participants … and separately with the United States to find ways to get very close to a final deal in the coming days,” Matton said.

Diplomats say aggravating factors include the sequence of measures proposed, handling of advances in Iran’s nuclear processing capabilities since the United States withdrew, and Iran’s presidential election next week.

The 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, gave Iran major sanctions relief in return for a promise to allow full international oversight of the dismantling of much of its nuclear program.

Former President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018 on the grounds that Tehran had made too many concessions while failing to contain its aggression in the region and ambitions to build a nuclear weapon. US sanctions, re-imposed and tightened under Trump, plunged Iran into a severe recession and enriched more uranium than allowed under the deal.

Iranian officials were reluctant to suggest that some of the terms agreed in 2015 need to be updated, insisting that it would return to nuclear compliance once Washington restored its pre-Trump sanctions policy.

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