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Senior diplomat says Iran rejects direct US nuclear talks



Senior diplomats said that Iran rejected the EU’s proposal for direct nuclear dialogue with the United States, risking new tensions between Tehran and the Western capital.

Two senior Western diplomats said that Iran has now ruled out the possibility of participating in the European meeting and that it must first ensure that the United States lifts certain sanctions after the meeting.

The United States has stated that it will participate in negotiations that the European Union hopes to host in the next few days. However, Washington refused to provide sanctions relief prior to face-to-face negotiations with Iran.

Diplomats said Iran’s refusal did not kill all hope for direct negotiations in the coming months, and Tehran’s move may be an attempt to gain influence in future negotiations. These negotiations may not have started before the Iranian New Year in late March.

Nonetheless, Iran̵

7;s move may increase tensions in the coming days.

A spokesperson for the State Council did not respond to a request for comment.

The European Union is working to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement, and the Trump administration withdrew the agreement, and Iran subsequently violated its restrictions. This is at a critical juncture. Both the Biden administration and Iran expressed their desire to restore the agreement, but both sides are troubled by the debate that action should be taken first.

As the dispute worsens, France, Britain, and Germany are working on a resolution that they plan to submit to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of directors next week. The resolution will condemn Iran’s recent steps to expand its nuclear activities and its failure to cooperate with the agency. Investigation of its nuclear work.

Iran warned that if the condemnation continues, Iran may terminate an agreement reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month that will allow most international inspections to continue. Iran has previously stated that it will significantly reduce the chances of inspectors conducting nuclear activities, but after Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, visited Tehran, Iran scaled back this operation.

If Georgia has stated that if Iran insists on this threat, it will greatly reduce international supervision of Iran’s nuclear work, which will allow the agency to maintain its control over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Biden administration has expressed its hope to return to the nuclear agreement, but it will not stop sanctions on Iran until Tehran overthrows the multiple steps it has taken to break the 2015 nuclear agreement.

European diplomats have warned that if Iran does not participate in the talks the EU hopes to hold next week, it will make Tehran even more isolated diplomatically. A senior European diplomat said that Iran is worried about returning empty-handed during a meeting with the United States, which may trigger strong opposition from Iran.

Write to Laurence Norman (Laurence Norman) mailbox laurence.norman@wsj.com and Michael Gordon (Michael R.Gordon) mailbox michael.gordon@wsj.com

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