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Iran nuclear deal

US ‘very serious’ about nuclear deal, but Iran’s position still unclear: Official

The official would not elaborate but voiced an apparent frustration with the Trump administration “going out of their way to make it difficult” for the US to rejoin the JCPOA

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The United States will not lift all sanctions on Iran as being demanded by Tehran, a senior State Department official said Friday, adding that it remained to be seen if Iran was serious about reaching a new nuclear deal.

“The US team put forward a very serious idea and demonstrated a seriousness of purpose on coming back into compliance if Iran comes back into compliance,” the official said.

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The parties will reconvene next week in Vienna to resume talks that started this week, the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

This week marked the first time US and Iranian officials gathered for indirect talks on a new nuclear deal.

Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley returned to Washington on Friday after leading the US delegation in Vienna.

“The atmosphere was businesslike ... and we read that as a positive sign,” the official said.

But the official warned, “If Iran sticks to the position that every sanction that has been imposed since 2017 has to be lifted or there will be no deal, then we are heading towards an impasse.”

Repeating previous comments that the US was prepared to lift sanctions that were “inconsistent” with the JCPOA, the State Department official said: “That doesn’t mean all of them because there’s some that are legitimate sanctions.”

The official would not elaborate but voiced an apparent frustration with the Trump administration “going out of their way to make it difficult” for the US to rejoin the JCPOA.

Former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing during the Trump administration, Marshall Billingslea, quickly hit back at the US official’s comments as “false.”

Officials from Europe, China and Russia, are mediating between US and Iranian representatives in Vienna. No direct talks have occurred with the mediators shuttling back and forth between hotels and rooms to relay messages.

Iran has insisted that the US lift all sanctions before returning to the JCPOA, but the Biden administration has so far refused to act unilaterally.

Instead, the US has said Iran must return to full compliance and then it would revoke the sanctions the so-called inconsistent sanctions with the JCPOA.

Read more: Iran’s Zarif says US sanctions are against nuclear deal, must be removed