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Diplomats: Iran Rejects Offer of Direct US Nuclear Talks

Diplomats: Iran Rejects Offer of Direct US Nuclear Talks

Sunday, 28 February, 2021 - 18:00
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington. Reuters

Iran rejected a European Union offer to arrange direct nuclear talks with the US, senior diplomats told The Wall Street Journal.

Two senior Western diplomats said Iran has ruled out attending a meeting in Europe for now, saying it wanted a guarantee first that the US would lift some sanctions after the meeting.

Washington had said it would attend the talks, which the EU had hoped to host in the coming days, said the report. However, the Biden administration had refused to provide sanctions relief before face-to-face negotiations with Iran had taken place.

Diplomats told The Wall Street Journal that Iran’s rejection didn’t kill off all hopes of direct negotiations in coming months and that Tehran’s move might be an attempt to gain leverage in future talks.

The US patience with Iran on returning to discussions over the 2015 nuclear deal is “not unlimited,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Wednesday.

“Our patience is not unlimited, but we do believe, and the president has been clear on this ... that the most effective way to ensure Iran could never acquire a nuclear weapon was through diplomacy,” Price said.

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