Blinken held ‘productive’ talks with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal

G7 summit in Liverpool
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives to attend the G7 summit of foreign and development ministers in Liverpool, Britain December 11, 2021. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS

December 11, 2021

By Humeyra Pamuk and William James

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a “productive” meeting with counterparts from Britain, Germany and France on Friday, discussing the way forward for talks on the Iran nuclear deal, a State Department spokesperson said on Saturday.

World powers and Iran resumed talks on Thursday on reviving the nuclear pact. A European source said they were working from texts discussed five months ago, while Iranian officials said they were sticking to a tough stance from last week.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Tehran was serious in its nuclear talks with world powers in Vienna, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The indirect U.S.-Iranian talks, in which diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China shuttle between them because Tehran refuses direct contact with Washington, aim to get both sides to resume full compliance with the accord.

“Secretary Blinken had a productive meeting with his E3 counterparts from Germany, France and the UK in Liverpool yesterday. They discussed the JCPOA talks and our way forward,” the State Department spokesperson said, referring to the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The meeting took place in the northern English city of Liverpool on the eve of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting which is expected to result in a joint call for Iran to moderate its nuclear programme and grasp the opportunity of talks in Vienna. [L1N2SW06E]

Under the original nuclear deal, abandoned in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, Iran limited its nuclear programme in return for relief from U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions.

The West fears the programme would be used to develop weapons, something Tehran denies.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by William James; Editing by Michael Holden and Edmund Blair)

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