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Iran nuclear deal

Indirect talks between US, Iran to resume in the Gulf this week: State Department

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The US and Iran will resume indirect talks “in the Gulf” later this week, a State Department official told Al Arabiya English on Monday.

The official reiterated previous comments by Biden administration officials that the US is ready to conclude negotiations and implement the deal negotiated in Vienna.

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“But for that, Iran needs to decide to drop their additional demands that go beyond the JCPOA,” the official said in a written response.

Washington said it was grateful to its EU partners, “who continue to convey messages and are working to advance these negotiations.”

EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell sounded upbeat after visiting Tehran over the weekend. He announced that the talks, which have been stalled for months, while the Biden administration has said Iran is on the verge of being able to acquire a nuclear weapon “within weeks,” would resume in the coming days.

Due to Iran’s refusal to meet face to face with US officials, the EU and Britain have been shuttling back and forth to relay messages between the two camps.

A senior US official told the Washington Post that Washington was “keeping our expectations very much in check.”

Analysts and diplomats familiar with the talks were optimistic that a deal was within reach on more than one occasion. But Iran came to the table, demanding that the US lift the terror designation imposed on the IRGC. The Biden administration refused and coupled with Russian obstacles, the talks were suspended.

Another noteworthy comment from the Biden administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to the Washington Post, was that the US was prepared to lift the terror designation off the IRGC. The official said Iran refused “some reciprocal steps,” which had to do with halting support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and curbing the IRGC’s participation in wars in Yemen and Syria.

Now, the official said, removing the IRGC from the US terror blacklist is “off the table.”

Read more: Iran tensions, record gas prices push Biden to recalibrate US policy in Middle East

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