Iran agrees to resume nuclear talks with US, others

Written by CNN Staff Writer

The Iranian government has agreed to resume nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (P5+1) before the end of the current June 30 deadline.

“The government of Iran has officially agreed to resume talks with the P5+1. Negotiations will take place before the end of June on two issues,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Friday according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The issues, Qassemi said, would be “the implementation of the JCPOA [nuclear deal] and activities related to Iran’s missile program.”

The nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was agreed upon in 2015 after months of complicated negotiations between Iran and the US, the three permanent members of the Security Council — Russia, China and the US — and Germany.

Iran has consistently insisted that it has fulfilled its commitments under the nuclear deal, while the US administration has recently accused Tehran of non-compliance with the JCPOA.

Possible violation

In May, the Trump administration said it would reimpose all sanctions lifted under the 2015 agreement, to take effect from November 4, alleging that Iran was in “material breach” of the JCPOA. The Trump administration levied new, punishing sanctions on Iran on Wednesday, alleging it violated the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear program.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the sanctions, which targeted Iran’s vital sectors of the economy, would be fully restored on November 4 unless Iran “immediately” complied with the terms of the deal.

His comments appeared to contradict US President Donald Trump’s message last week that he would remain in the deal as long as “unacceptable flaws” could be fixed. Iran has repeatedly said the flaws are not on its side and the threat from Iran’s nuclear program has diminished since the deal was signed.

The Trump administration’s move has drawn criticism from former US secretaries of state James Baker and John Kerry. Kerry has argued that the deal, which ended with the lifting of most sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, has been a positive achievement that has since put in place a variety of other major international agreements aimed at containing Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

CNN’s Rich Cohen contributed to this report.

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