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End of sanctions is our ‘red line’ for nuclear deal revival: Iran

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TEHRAN: Iran has said that removal of US sanctions is Tehran’s red line in talks with world powers in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal as European Union announced the resumption of the talks with Iran from today.

The talks will resume on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said, on Monday.

“The issue of removal of sanctions and Iran benefiting from it is Iran’s red line in the talks,” he added.

The United States restored some sanctions waivers allowing international nuclear cooperation with Iran on projects designed to make it harder for Iran’s nuclear sites to be used to develop weapons, on Friday.

However, a senior State Department official said that was not a signal Washington was on the verge of reaching an agreement.

“Washington has decided to take a step which has no impact on Iran’s economic situation, a responsible US government should return to the deal and fulfil its obligations,” Khatibzadeh added.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian described the US move as “good but insufficient”, on Sunday.

The European Union says talks to revive a landmark nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran will resume in Vienna on February 8 as Tehran warned that the removal of U.S. sanctions was the “red line” to put the deal back on track.

On Monday, the EU, which chairs the talks, announced the resumption of the negotiations, which had broken off on January 28 to allow diplomats to return home for consultations.

In 2015, Tehran reached an agreement with world powers under which the Islamic republic pledged to reduce its nuclear activities in return for a reduction of international sanctions.

But former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions, prompting Iran to gradually reduce its commitments under the deal.

The two sides have held eight rounds of indirect talks in Vienna since April aimed at reinstating the pact, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“The issue of removal of sanctions and Iran benefiting from it is Iran’s red line in the talks,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference in Tehran on February 7.

Khatibzadeh confirmed that talks in Vienna would resume on February 8.

On February 4, Washington restored sanctions waivers rescinded by Trump, a move which Tehran has said was insufficient.

The Vienna talks paused on January 28 as top negotiators returned to their respective capitals for consultations. The U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, on February 6 said he would soon return to Vienna, insisting the pact could still be revived.

Khatibzadeh said Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, would return to Vienna on February 8, when negotiations will resume.

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