U.S. holds indirect talks with Iran on restarting nuclear deal

VIENNA, Austria (NBC) – Officials from five world powers began a new effort Tuesday to try to bring the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal they signed with Iran.

The first round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran in Vienna has ended and expectations have been met. So far, there was no breakthrough and no breakdown.

The meeting ended with all sides agreeing to continue consultations at expert levels this Friday when discussions will be held about sanctions relief and how to get Iran back into full compliance.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We don’t underestimate the scale of the challenges ahead. These are early days. We don’t anticipate an early or immediate breakthrough as these discussions, we fully expect, will be difficult. But we do believe that these discussions with our partners, and in turn our partners with Iran, is a healthy step- step forward.”

During the meeting, the head of the Iranian delegation stressed that the removal of US sanctions is the first and most important step in order to revive the nuclear deal. Then there’s the added complication of the Biden administration seeking a longer and stronger deal that addresses Iran’s missile program and regional influence, a notion that’s been dismissed out-of-hand by Tehran who says that those issues are completely off the table

Iranian media is reporting that an offer was made to the Iranian delegation to stop enriching uranium at 20% in return for about a billion dollars of frozen assets to be returned to Iran. The Iranian delegation turned that offer down as well

Nonetheless, the fact that these meetings are taking place is a step in the right direction. There may not be a solid diplomatic solution at this point, but at least efforts at diplomacy are being made.

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