Iran opposes any ‘step-by-step’ easing of US sanctions

Iran opposes any ‘step-by-step’ easing of US sanctions

Iran rejected any “step-by-step” measures for it to rejoin the Obama-era deal over its nuclear program, reiterating that the U.S. must end all sanctions before it slaps limits on its uranium enrichment.

In an interview with Iranian state broadcaster Press TV on Saturday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Iran will stick to its stance “as has been clearly stated many times” that there must be immediate sanctions relief for there for be any progress in nuclear negotiations.

“The definitive policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the lifting of all US sanctions, whether those which Trump reimposed after withdrawing from the JCPOA or those which he initiated, as well as sanctions imposed under any other heading,” he said, referring to the nuclear deal reached under the Obama administration.

“Obviously, this lifting of sanctions must be effective and must be verified by Iran.” 

Disagreements over sanctions relief has emerged as a chief obstacle to negotiations over the nuclear program.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn’t vote for them Gaetz bragged about ‘access’ to women through Florida tax collector charged in federal case: report Trump calls for boycott of MLB for moving All-Star Game MORE withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed a slew of sanctions that had been lifted as part of the 2015 international agreement signed in 2015. Iran responded by ramping up uranium enrichment beyond the limits imposed by the pact.

President BidenJoe BidenJobs report adds to Biden momentum White House says bills are bipartisan even if GOP doesn’t vote for them Trump calls for boycott of MLB for moving All-Star Game MORE, who served as vice president under President Obama when the previous nuclear deal was reached, has said he intends to renew negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program but maintained it must first reduce its uranium enrichment before a deal is reached.

In a potential sign that both countries have their eyes on a deal, the U.S. and Iran announced Friday that they will meet in Vienna this month with signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Friday that the talks with European, Russian and Chinese counterparts will “identify the issues involved in a mutual return to compliance” with the agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He added that top issues to be discussed are steps Iran would need to take to return to compliance and sanctions relief steps the U.S. would need to take in order to adhere to its own obligations.

However, he poured cold water on there being any major developments coming out of the April 6 conference.

“These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead. But we believe this is a healthy step forward,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added in his own statement that the Vienna meetings would aim to “rapidly finalise sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures” but that there would be no direct talks between representatives of Tehran and Washington.

“No Iran-US meeting,” he said. “Unnecessary.”