Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who’s leading the country’s nuclear negotiations, made the comments in a tweet after meeting top EU diplomat Enrique Mora in Brussels. He didn’t say where the talks would take place and who would attend.
In the U.S., State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. would discuss Iran with its European allies on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rome this weekend. And White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that the U.S. is committed to a “diplomatic path forward.”
“Our framing continues to be compliance for compliance,” Psaki said. “And we’ll leave it up to the Europeans and our negotiators to determine what the next step would be.”
Oil extended its declines on the news and benchmark Brent futures were down 1.6% as traders were given the first solid sign in months that Iran’s crude may return to global markets in the near future.
Bagheri Kani said in a separate statement that securing a guarantee that the U.S. won’t repeat former President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal would be a key demand in its negotiations with world powers.
The issue has been a major sticking point between the two sides, and the White House has said it cannot legally force future administrations to preserve the accord.
Even before the U.S. exit in 2018, Iran often criticized the EU for failing to fully abide by its commitments in the original 2015 deal and effect the sort of economic windfall the Islamic Republic had expected after curbing its nuclear activity.
The negotiations stalled in June, shortly after hardline President Ebrahim Raisi was elected to replace a government that was in favor of the accord, delaying Iran’s return to oil markets. While the EU has been urging the Persian Gulf nation to return to the table, Raisi’s hawkish foreign policy team have said they need time to develop their strategy.
At a press conference in Tehran earlier on Wednesday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian again raised the issue of billions of dollars of payments for Iranian oil imports trapped in countries like South Korea and Japan because of U.S. sanctions. He said he expected President Joe Biden will have the “goodwill” to release the funds, but didn’t tie the issue to restarting the stalled nuclear negotiations.
The Biden administration wants to return to the accord, but has refused to lift any Trump-era sanctions or release any Iranian funds before talks resume. Tehran has significantly expanded its nuclear program in response to Washington’s exit and its tough sanctions regime.