President Joe Biden‘s administration will begin indirect talks with Iran on recommitting to the historic 2015 nuclear deal, which curbed Iran’s nuclear program.
Speaking to reporters, State Department spokesman Ned Price called the negotiations “a healthy step forward” but cautioned, “These remain early days, and we don’t anticipate an immediate breakthrough as there will be difficult discussions ahead.”
Earlier, the European Union, China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran––which are all parties to the deal––announced they “recognized the prospect of a full return of the U.S. to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], and underlined their readiness to positively address this in a joint effort.”
A statement after their virtual meeting “emphasized their commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation.”
Talks will begin on Tuesday in Vienna.
President Biden has made the resumption of the nuclear deal a priority for his administration. Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018 intensifying an already strained relationship with Iran. Last year, Iran issued an arrest warrant for Trump and 35 others over the killing of Qassem Suleimani, the nation’s top general, who was killed in a drone strike on January 3, 2020.
“General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” a Pentagon statement said at the time. “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
The White House later confirmed that the strike was a “decisive defensive action” carried out “at the direction of the president.” International allies criticized the strike as an escalation of an already fraught conflict.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.