Blinken discusses Iran with UK, French, German ministers
- “We just had a in-depth and important conversation on Iran,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said
Updated 28 min 36 sec ago
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Iran and other issues on Friday in a virtual meeting with his British, French and German counterparts as the group weighs how to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
“We just had a in-depth and important conversation on Iran … to handle together nuclear and regional security challenges,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Twitter, adding other issues were also addressed.
The high-level conversation is the latest step by President Joe Biden’s new administration to explore how to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers but was abandoned in 2018 by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to comment on the substance of the meeting, but said Washington wanted “to make sure that we are working in lockstep with our European partners” on Iran.
Earlier, a US official said the meeting between Blinken, Le Drian, Britain’s Dominic Raab and Germany’s Heiko Maas would also cover the coronavirus pandemic, Russia, China, Myanmar and climate.
The nuclear deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms – an ambition Iran has long denied having – in return for the easing of US and other sanctions.
In abandoning the deal approved by former President Barack Obama, Trump restored the US sanctions it had removed and then piled on more.
Biden, who took office last month, has said that if Tehran returned to strict compliance with the 2015 nuclear pact, Washington would follow suit and use that as a springboard to a broader agreement that might restrict Iran’s missile development and regional activities.
Tehran has insisted that Washington ease sanctions before it resumed compliance, and ruled out negotiations on wider security issues. But Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hinted on Monday at a way to resolve the impasse over who goes first by saying the steps could be synchronized.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WCT staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)