Nuclear negotiations.. Washington renews its readiness for direct dialogue with Iran to expedite understanding, and Tehran requires reaching a tight agreement

On Monday, the United States of America renewed its willingness to hold a direct dialogue with Tehran to speed up understanding regarding reviving the Iranian nuclear file, but Iran stipulated that the Vienna negotiations reach a stage that leads to achieving a “tight agreement” with “strong guarantees.”

The US State Department said that Washington is ready to meet directly with the Iranians, because it is the best way to negotiate the nuclear deal.

And the US State Department responded to a question by Al-Jazeera that the direct meeting with the Iranians opens a greater scope for communication, which is necessary to speed up reaching an understanding on returning to compliance with the nuclear agreement.

She added that the time to reach an understanding on a mutual return to the agreement was almost over, given the pace of Iran’s nuclear progress.

The Foreign Ministry also expressed its regret that this opportunity was missed without them meeting directly in an effort to resolve their differences.

In a development that reflects Washington’s desire for direct negotiations, ministry spokesman Ned Price said in a press briefing that the United States did not make Iran’s release of 4 Americans a condition for reaching an agreement between the two countries to resume compliance with the nuclear agreement.

In a context related to the Iranian nuclear file, the Wall Street Journal quoted informed sources as saying that there are differences in the ranks of the American team regarding the way to deal with Iran, and that the differences centered on the timing of withdrawing from the nuclear agreement negotiations.

Amir Abdollahian: If we reach, during the negotiations, the point of the need to conclude a tight agreement with strong guarantees, we will put the dialogue with Washington on our (European) agenda.

Iranian position

Tehran has repeatedly refused to hold direct talks with Washington in Vienna, arguing that the United States is no longer a party to the agreement. But she indicated that she would study this in the event that direct dialogue was necessary to conclude what she described as an airtight agreement.

In this context, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Monday that “the American side is sending messages in different ways that it is looking for a certain level of direct talks with Iran.”

He added in a press conference at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Tehran that his country would not ignore the option of negotiating with Washington if the Vienna negotiations reached a stage that would lead to achieving a tight agreement, as he put it. Abdullahian indicated that the negotiations will reach a stage that requires political decisions, as he put it.

The Vienna talks to revive the Iranian nuclear agreement began in April 2021, and were suspended in June, coinciding with the election of Governor Ibrahim Raisi as Iran’s president, succeeding President Hassan Rouhani, who concluded the agreement during his reign.

The talks returned and resumed in late November.

The parties concerned acknowledge that the negotiation is making progress recently, but several points remain. Iran and Western countries also exchanged statements blaming each other for the slow pace of the negotiation process.

Tehran stresses the priority of lifting the sanctions that Washington re-imposed on it after its withdrawal from the agreement, and obtaining guarantees that the US withdrawal will not be repeated.

In contrast, the United States and the European parties focus on Iran’s return to full respect for its nuclear commitments.

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