Iran calls removal of US sanctions its 'red line' for 2015 deal revival

Teheran and Washington have held eight rounds of indirect talks since April last year. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Iran said on Monday (Feb 7) that the removal of US sanctions is Teheran's red line in talks with world powers in Vienna to revive a 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman told a news conference, adding that talks will resume on Tuesday.

Last Friday, the United States restored 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, although a senior State Department official said that was not a signal Washington was on the verge of reaching an agreement.

"The issue of removal of sanctions and Iran benefiting from it is Iran's red line in the talks," said Mr Saeed Khatibzadeh.

"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," he said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday described the US move as "good but insufficient".

Iran, which denies ever seeking a nuclear bomb, has gradually violated nuclear limits of the nuclear pact in reaction to then US President Donald Trump's 2018 withdrawal from the pact between Teheran and six powers and reimposing of crippling sanctions on Iran.

Teheran and Washington have held eight round of indirect talks since April in Vienna aimed at reinstating the deal, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for removal of international sanctions that have squeezed its oil exports.

The talks paused on Jan 28 as top negotiators returned to their respective capitals for consultations. US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley on Sunday said he would soon return to Vienna, insisting the pact could still be revived.

Mr Khatibzadeh said Iran's lead nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani would return to Vienna on Tuesday, when the talks will resume.

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