March 29, 2023

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Iran: All discussions during previous nuclear talks ‘subject to negotiations

Iran’s top negotiator said Tuesday he is pushing to completely renegotiate a nuclear weapons deal between the U.S. and Iran.

Everything is on the table as world leaders meet this week in Vienna to discuss a pact that would impose limits on Iran’s nuclear stockpile in return for lifting economic sanctions, said Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri.

“Nothing is agreed on unless everything has been agreed on,” he told an Iranian news outlet. “”As the Iranian negotiation team enjoys a serious will and practical readiness to reach an agreement, we are optimistic about the future … (but) because we do not trust the other side, we are not too optimistic.”

The U.S. is indirectly joining European leaders in Vienna to discuss a potential restart of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a 2015 pact between the two countries that curbed Iran’s nuclear weapons stockpile and lifted hard economic sanctions against it. The pact was later scrapped by former President Trump in 2018, who called it a “bad deal.”

Iran has since resumed its operations of enriching uranium above 60%, which is close to the development of a nuclear weapon. The country has also shut out UN inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency, who want to inspect the nuclear facilities in Iran.

The election of President Biden in the U.S. and President Ebrahim Raisi in Iran have seen a resurgence of the nuclear talks, but Iran has said it wants a lifting of all roughly 1,500 U.S. sanctions in the new deal.

Not everyone is on board with the resumed negotiations; Republicans in the U.S. remain opposed, while neighboring Israel is stepping up its military presence and capabilities for a strike on an Iranian nuclear compound, calling the preparations a “Plan B” if the negotiations fail.

In a statement on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said “Iran deserves no rewards, no bargain deals and no sanctions relief in return for their brutality.”

“I call upon our allies around the world: Do not give in to Iran’s nuclear blackmail,” Bennett said.

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