A senior United Nations diplomat has confirmed that Iran has agreed to resume nuclear talks before the end of November, ending the hiatus that has prevented the two sides from negotiating since the last round last June. The exact date of the negotiations has not yet been finalized, but the diplomats tell reporters that the talks will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a central city within the framework of the framework agreement. The deal was reached in 2015, and runs until August 2022.
Iran wants U.S. President Donald Trump to certify that the deal is in the United States’ national interest, and to grant waivers on nuclear sanctions. Trump has done so twice, with the status quo at its current level. But he has repeatedly expressed his disapproval of the deal and has refused to affirm the 2015 deal in any sort of formal form. If the status quo remains, the White House is expected to reimpose sanctions in early May. This will further increase tensions between Iran and the United States, and even though the nuclear talks are more prominent in Iran’s foreign policy landscape, the regime appears to have other high-priority priorities. Trump has promised to confront and isolate Iran, and formally withdrawing from the nuclear deal could seem like a useful piece of domestic political ammunition for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the run-up to the country’s May presidential election.
Trump’s threats have prompted Iranian officials to warn that they will respond in kind. In December, Rouhani’s hand-picked Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that Iran’s response to U.S. withdrawal from the deal would be “to keep enriching uranium, building its capacity and increasing its prerogatives.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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