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EU Official: Iran to Return to Nuclear Talks on Thursday


FILE - Officials wait for the start of a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 29, 2021. (EU Delegation in Vienna/Handout via Reuters)

A top European Union diplomat said Wednesday that nuclear talks with Iran will resume Thursday in Vienna. And the U.S. will know soon whether Iran is serious about reviving the nuclear accord, a State Department spokesperson said.

On his Twitter account, EU Deputy Secretary-General Enrique Mora said the seventh round of talks on a possible resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action would continue Thursday after "consultations in and among capitals." Mora is chairing the talks.

Efforts to bring Iran back to the original JCPOA agreement broke down last week after mediators from France, Britain and Germany — three of the signatories to the 2015 agreement — expressed frustration with Iran, saying it had "backtracked on diplomatic progress made."

"We should know in pretty short order if the Iranians are going … to negotiate in good faith," said Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, warning that "the runway is getting very, very short for negotiations."

"It will not always be in our interest to seek a return to the JCPOA," he said.

Under the JCPOA, Iran promised it would curb nuclear activities that could be weaponized in return for international sanctions relief. Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

The United States withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under former President Donald Trump. Since then, Iran has renewed its nuclear program by enriching uranium beyond the thresholds allowed in the agreement.

Tehran has also prevented the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, from accessing its nuclear facilities, raising concerns about what the country is doing behind closed doors.

President Joe Biden has said the U.S. is willing to return to the agreement. U.S. diplomats in Vienna have been indirectly involved in the talks and are being briefed by other powers.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.