By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The European Union says Iran and a group of world powers will hold virtual talks on April 2 about the possible return of the United States to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
The move was welcomed by Washington, which said it was ready to take “mutual steps” to return to the nuclear deal.
The virtual meeting will be attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and Iran — all signatories of the agreement — the EU said in a statement released on April 1.
“Participants will discuss the prospect of a possible return of the United States to the” landmark nuclear deal and “how to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement by all sides.”
The U.S. State department on April 1 welcomed the announcement of the meeting.
“We obviously welcome this as a positive step,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, adding that the United States was in discussions on “initial mutual steps” to restore full compliance with the 2015 accord.
The deal was meant to provide relief for Iran from international sanctions in exchange for limitations on its nuclear program, which Tehran says is strictly for civilian energy purposes.
But the United States unilaterally pulled out of nuclear agreement in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, who reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran.
U.S. President Joe Biden has signaled his readiness to revive the accord, but his administration insists Iran must first return to its nuclear commitments, most of which Tehran has suspended in response to U.S. sanctions.
Iran’s commitments include limits on the amount of enriched uranium it can stockpile and the purity to which it can enrich it.
Iran began restricting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear facilities in February.
On March 21, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Washington must lift all sanctions if the United States and its allies want to see Iran return to its commitments under the deal.
The announcement of the virtual meeting came as a report by the IAEA said that Iran had breached more of its commitments.
The confidential report, obtained by Reuters and dated March 31, said Iran had begun enriching uranium using advanced machines at its underground Natanz plant, in violation of the agreement.