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U.S. does not plan sanctions relief, other steps before Iran talks

By Reuters Staff

2 Min Read

U.S. President Joe Biden returns a salute while boarding Air Force One as he departs Washington for travel to visit a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 19, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner?

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – The United States has no plan to ease sanctions or take other steps such as issuing an executive order about returning to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal before possible talks with Iran and major powers, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as U.S. President Joe Biden flew to Michigan, Psaki said “there is no plan to take additional steps” on Iran in advance of having a “diplomatic conversation.”

The United States said on Thursday it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to a 2015 pact that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, which Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump abandoned nearly three years ago.

Under the deal, Iran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions. Washington reimposed sanctions after Trump quit, and Iran responded by violating some of the deal’s nuclear limits.

Iran reacted coolly to the Biden administration’s initial offer, with its foreign minister saying Tehran will “immediately reverse” actions in its nuclear program once U.S. sanctions are lifted.

Asked if the Biden administration was considering an executive order about reviving the agreement, Psaki noted the European Union has floated the idea of a conversation among Iran and the six major powers who struck the agreement: Britain, China, France, Germany Russia and the United States.

“The Europeans have invited us and … it is simply an invitation to have a conversation, a diplomatic conversation. We don’t need additional administrative steps to participate in that conversation,” she said.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Graff

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