US Secretary of State holds ‘productive’ meeting with Europeans on Iran nuclear deal
The Arab News reported according to Reuters that US State Department spokesperson said on Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a “productive” meeting with counterparts from Britain, Germany and France on Friday, discussing the way forward for talks on the Iran nuclear deal.
World powers and Iran resumed talks on Thursday on reviving the nuclear pact. A European source said they were working from texts discussed five months ago, while Iranian officials said they were sticking to a tough stance from last week.
The official IRNA news agency reported, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that Tehran was serious in its nuclear talks with world powers in Vienna.
The indirect US-Iranian talks, in which diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China shuttle between them because Tehran refuses direct contact with Washington, aim to get both sides to resume full compliance with the accord.
“Secretary Blinken had a productive meeting with his E3 counterparts from Germany, France and the UK in Liverpool yesterday. They discussed the JCPOA talks and our way forward,” the State Department spokesperson said, referring to the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The meeting took place in the northern English city of Liverpool on the eve of a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting which is expected to result in a joint call for Iran to moderate its nuclear program and grasp the opportunity of talks in Vienna.
Under the original nuclear deal, abandoned in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from US, European Union and UN sanctions.
The West fears the program would be used to develop weapons, something Tehran denies.
Meanwhile, a top Iranian military official warned on Saturday of a “heavy price” for aggressors, state media said, after a report of US and Israeli plans for possible military drills to prepare for strikes against Iran's nuclear sites if diplomacy fails.
Nournews, affiliated with Iran's top security body, said on Twitter, citing an unnamed military official: “Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price."
A senior US official told Reuters on Thursday that US and Israeli defense chiefs were expected to discuss possible military exercises that would prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations' leaders request it.